By Parker Knox
Alyson Johnsen and Taryn Twite have been leading Beresford’s girls basketball varsity for five seasons, so it was no surprise that it was they who took immediate control of the game and led their Watchdogs to a 51-27 win over Vermillion in the District 8A semifinals on their home court Tuesday.
The loss ended the season for the defending district and regional champion Tanagers, who fell distantly behind early and never threatened to rally.
Johnsen, who had a 17-point game that included five three-point field goals, drilled the first two of those five treys to open the game. After a Josie Huber three-point play cut the gap to 6-3, Twite, who finished with 11, took her turn with a two-point basket and a three-pointer of her own. Suddenly it was 11-3 at that point and 15-5 after the quarter, and basically that was the ballgame.
A Twite trey opened the second quarter in which the Watchdogs outscored the Tanagers 17-5, so it was 32-10 at the intermission. While the Tanagers enjoyed an 11-point third quarter, that was more than offset by 15 Watchdog points, including three more Johnsen three-pointers. The fourth quarter saw everybody for both teams see some court time since the game’s outcome had long since been decided.
Vermillion’s only starter who returns next year, junior Josie Huber, led the Tanagers in scoring as she has done all season with a 13-point game. Allison Heine and Mackenzie Huber had five points each, Courtney Johnson two, Blair Gilkyson one and Tori Gregoire one.
Both teams had come into the district tournament on three-game losing streaks, but it was Beresford, who earned the home game as the district’s No. 1 seed, who was able to right its ship and do so quickly. The Watchdogs advanced to the championship game with a 15-6 record.
The Tanagers’ regular-season mark evened out at 10-10 after a 48-39 loss to Wagner at the VHS gym on Feb. 12, a contest which featured a turn-around of epic proportions.
Vermillion led 10-3 after a quarter, 23-9 at halftime and led by 25-9 in the first minute of the third period on Josie Huber’s field goal. But amazingly that comfortable 16-point advantage had shrunk to a mere 32-30 by the time the quarter ended.
From a 34-34 tie shortly thereafter, Wagner raced to a 41-34 lead. The closest the Tanagers came after that was 43-39 on Mackenzie Huber’s field goal. The final five points came on free throws for the Red Raiders, who had capitalized all night long on that very facet of the game. Because the Tanagers fouled 23 times to Wagner’s nine, the visitors had 27 free-throw chances, making 20 of them, while the Tanagers shot only six free throws, sinking five.
Josie Huber led VHS with 16 points. Mackenzie Huber added seven, Allison Heine six, Brooke Schwasinger five, Shantel French three and Courtney Johnson two.
The end of the season in Tuesday’s district play also ended the VHS careers of Courtney Johnson, Brooke Schwasinger, Mackenzie Huber, Allison Heine and Blair Gilkyson.