By no means was it artistic, but the result was satisfying nevertheless as Vermillion's girls improved to 3-2 with a 37-31 victory at Tea Area Friday night.
A long scoreless spell in the second period and a 6-0 Titan run near halftime left Vermillion facing a 17-16 halftime deficit in the low-scoring contest. Fortunately for the Tanagers, the winless Tea Area team was struggling offensively as well.
In the second half the Vermillion defense increased its intensity and level of play, too, as the team held its game-long turnover total to a mere eight errors. A field goal by Josie Huber, who shared game-high scoring honors at 15 points apiece with older sister Mackenzie, midway through the third period gave VHS a 20-19 lead after which the Tanagers never trailed.
The 7-3 third quarter, after which Vermillion led 23-20, was followed by a 14-point Tanager surge in the final stanza. A field goal by Mackenzie Huber, a seven-point burst by Josie Huber and a Blair Gilkyson bucket gave the Tanagers some breathing room at 34-27, their biggest lead of the night.
Three of four from the free-throw line by Mackenzie Huber in the last 30 seconds kept Tea Area at bay and preserved the win. The Tanagers sank nine of 13 attempts from the stripe in the game, a major factor in a contest in which field goals were so difficult to come by.
Besides the 30-point total by the Huber sisters, Gilkyson, who played extensive minutes for the first time since returning from an injury, had three points, Courtney Johnson two and Brooke Schwasinger two. Crystal Zitterich led Tea Area with 10 points.
The Tanager girls missed their head coach, Nick Mayer, at Tea Area as he stayed home due to illness. Assistant coach J.J. Heyden handled the head coaching duties.
The VHS girls hosted Sioux Falls Christian last night (Thursday) and are back home tonight as part of a girls-boys doubleheader against Parkston. The girls resume conference play at Madison Tuesday and at home next Thursday against Lennox.