By Parker Knox
The last home game of their high school basketball careers for five Vermillion seniors was as much of a team-wide effort as any game the Tanagers have had all season.
In a contest of dramatic runs by both teams, Vermillion prevailed over Canton, 77-64, last Friday on the strength of a 25-point fourth quarter after the Tanagers led by only one when that period began.
Vermillion’s regular season ended with a 12-8 record. The Tanagers, as the No. 2 seed in District 8A, were scheduled to play Elk Point-Jefferson last night (Thursday) in the District 8A semifinals at Dakota Valley. That winner will take on the Dakota Valley-Beresford winner in a championship game Saturday night on the home court of the higher remaining seed. The champion advances to the Region 4A championship game Tuesday.
The Tanagers outrebounded Canton 38-28 and shot 54 percent from the field. Testament to the fact that everybody joined in the effort was the fact that the Tanagers recorded 15 assists on a total of 25 field goals.
Checks these personal statistics for the five seniors who were playing on their home court for the last time:
- Austin Krier had 22 points, including 3-of-6 in two-point field goals and 3-of-6 in three-pointers and 7-of-8 in free throws. He also contributed five rebounds, two steals and two assists.
- J.T. Sorensen went 8-of-9 from two-point range and 3-of-7 at the stripe for 19 points along with nine rebounds and an assist.
- Tanner Anderson put up nine points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists.
- Anthony Leber added eight points, eight rebounds, two steals and three assists.
- Tanner Settles garnered six points, one rebound, three steals and one assist.
The Tanagers’ big man in the middle, junior Nick Jensen, had eight points with five boards and two steals. Jayce Huska added three points, four rebounds and four assists. Carter Andre scored two points and had a rebound and an assist.
In the first minute of the second half, a Canton three-pointer tied the game at 35-35, but the Tanagers went on a 10-1 run. Sorensen had a great deal to do with that. Twice in that stretch he put back rebounds of teammates’ misses to score, and then, after Anderson stole the ball, he fed Sorensen for another field goal.
But no sooner had Vermillion surged into a 45-36 lead, back came the C-Hawks to take a 51-50 lead. Two free throws by Andre with three-tenths of a second left in the quarter put VHS back on top 51-52.
Momentum swung back toward the Tanagers once again. This time it was an 11-0 explosion that included five points from Anderson and a trey from Krier. Canton could get no closer than eight the rest of the way.