The Vermillion boys and girls basketball teams hosted Tea Area in a doubleheader last Friday. Both Tanager teams fell to the Titans in close games. The girls lost 52-57, and the boys were topped 50-54.
“I think our girls have done a nice job competing on the defensive end,” said Vermillion girls head coach Jon Brooks. “We have found ways to stay in games against really good opponents with our defense and rebounding, even though we are lacking height. I like how hard our girls are competing at that end of the floor.”
The Vermillion girls had tough competition from the start as they ended the first quarter behind 10-22.
The Tanagers started chipping away in the second, outscoring the Titans by five to enter the half down 25-32.
Vermillion continued edging back as they outscored Tea Area and took a 41-38 lead after the third quarter.
In the fourth, the opponents battled to make it a close game through the final buzzer. The Tanagers were outscored and fell 52-57.
“We were right there with a chance to win against Tea and just came up a little short,” said coach Brooks. “Being in those close games is good, but we need to learn how to finish to get the win.”
Junior Lexi Plitzuweit recorded the game-high 38 points, shooting 50 percent from the field. Plitzuweit also had seven rebounds and three steals. Junior Shandie Ludwig tallied six points and seven rebounds. Senior Lexi Saunders had five points, three steals, and five assists. Sophomore Kensie Mulheron recorded three points and assists each.
For Tea Area, senior Sam Kloos led the Titans with 14 points and two steals. Junior Olivia Ritter had 13 points. Senior Desirae Patzwald and sophomore Grace Stansbury each had 10 rebounds.
The boys’ game followed, and the Tanagers fell in another barnburner 50-54.
“We gave a good effort and worked hard in the Tea game, but we did not do a good job rebounding and put ourselves in a hole with a poor third quarter,” said Vermillion boys head coach Jay Drake. “But to give our kids credit, we kept battling and gave ourselves a chance still late in the game versus Tea.”
The game was first low scoring as the Tanagers were down 6-8 after the first quarter.
Vermillion took a 1-point lead at halftime. The home team was up 24-23 going into the third quarter.
Tea Area came back in the third. The Tanagers had one quarter remaining to battle back from the 31-42 deficit.
Vermillion worked to outscore the Titans by seven in the fourth. However, it was five short of a win.
The Tanagers had their first loss of the season to Tea Area 50-54.
Junior Dillon Gestring recorded 19 points for Vermillion. Junior Connor Saunders tallied seven points and three assists. Junior Jakob Dobney had six points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Senior Sam Ward also had six points.
For Tea Area, junior Garrett Kolbeck had the game-high 21 points. Sophomore Cael Lundin tallied 10 points.
“Tea is a very good basketball team, and we knew that going into the game,” said coach Drake. “We proved we can compete with a quality opponent, but to get over the hump in a game like that, we will have to clean up some things and really need to rebound the basketball much better to have the opportunity to win a game like that down the road.”
Vermillion will travel to Parkston for a doubleheader this Friday. The girls will play at 6:30 p.m. and the boys at 8.
The girls’ next game will be Tuesday at home against Madison. Varsity will play at 7:45 p.m. The boys’ next game will be next Friday at Lennox in Vermillion’s next doubleheader.