By Parker Knox
Vermillion’s girls, locked in a three-way battle for the No. 2 seed in District 8A, begin a five-game stretch to complete the regular season tonight (Friday) with a home game against an always-tough Sergeant Bluff-Luton ballclub.
Coach Nick Mayer’s Tanagers, who now stand 8-7 for the year after a Tuesday night loss at Beresford, will also be home Tuesday against district rival Dakota Valley, the first part of a girls-boys doubleheader at the VHS gym.
Like Vermillion, Dakota Valley is also 8-7 going into a game against Elk Point-Jefferson tonight. EP-J took a 9-5 record into a game last night against Lennox. The district leader is Beresford, now 12-3 after taking care of the Tanagers 51-36 Tuesday.
The Tanagers will also be at West Central next Thursday for their last Big 8 Conference game of the season. Vermillion is 1-6 in league play so far.
Vermillion was going for its third straight win Tuesday at Beresford, but it was not to be. The Watchdogs led at the half by 26-16, held that margin during the third period and stretched their lead to as many as 19 in the final stanza.
Josie Huber’s four three-point field goals accounted for her team-high 12 points. Brooke Schwasinger scored 11, Sydney Peters six, Shantel French three, Mackenzie Huber three and Courtney Johnson one. The Watchdogs were led by Alyson Johnsen’s 13 points and Hayley Hansen’s 12.
Last Friday at Vermillion the VHS girls survived a late Canton C-Hawks rally to win 54-53 after leading comfortably by 42-34 after three periods. A 9-1 Canton run, helped along by seven VHS turnovers in the final period, tied the game at 43-43. A three-pointer by Josie Huber and four points from Schwasinger kept Vermillion ahead until Canton tied the game again at 50-50.
Blair Gilkyson sank a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left, and Josie Huber, fouled after snaring a defensive rebound, sank two more with 27 seconds left, seven of the eight free throws she made in the fourth quarter. A three-pointer for Canton cut the lead to a single point. An ill-advised floor-length pass by the Tanagers then gave Canton the ball with a chance to win the game.
A tied-up ball gave Canton one more possession with four seconds left. A Canton player driving for what appeared to be the game-winning layup instead lost the ball out of bounds on her way to the hoop. The fortunate Tanagers had only to in-bounds the ball to end the game.
Josie Huber had 24 points, Schwasinger 13, Johnson seven, Mackenzie Huber three, French three, Allison Heine two and Gilkyson two.
Just 24 hours earlier, the Tanagers won one of the stranger games of the season, escaping Dell Rapids by a 25-22 count.
Vermillion led 6-5 after one quarter but scored only one point to the Quarriers’ four in the second period. So from 9-7 at halftime, it went to 14-12 after three periods with Dells still on top. The Tanagers found themselves down 17-12, a huge margin in a cool-shooting game like this one, but a three-pointer from French and another from Josie Huber got VHS to within 19-18. Josie Huber’s two gave the Tanagers a 20-19 lead.
Johnson added two free throws, but a Dells three-pointer tied the game at 22-22. With a chance to win the game, the Tanagers tried to get the ball in Josie Huber’s hands, just as Dell Rapids expected would happen. But Huber kicked the ball out to Gilkyson, who canned a game-winning three-pointer for her only points of the game.
Josie Huber had a team-high eight points, Johnson six, Schwasinger three, French three and Peters two.