High School Girls Basketball

Tea Area ends Flandreau's perfect season

The Fliers lost their first game of the season in the Class A quarterfinals on Thursday night.


BROOKINGS – The Flandreau Fliers were upset in the quarterfinals of the Class A State Girls Basketball Tournament, falling to the sixth-seeded Tea Area Titans 52-47 at the Dacotah Bank Center on Thursday night.

The loss stung as the Fliers entered with a 23-0 record but the team’s effort to rally from a double-digit deficit in the first half and bring the game within a possession in the fourth quarter was something that helped them hold their heads high.

“My kids are tough,” Flandreau head coach Megan Severtson said. “I knew that going in, we were excited about the matchup. Tea is a really nice team and we knew it was going to be a battle. They just had girls that knocked down shots and unfortunately, tonight wasn’t our best shooting night.”

The Titans set the tone early with a 9-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and built a 26-17 lead with 1:48 left in the second quarter. Lily Klein knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and Katie Vasecka made a layup with seven seconds to go to give Tea a 28-23 lead at halftime.

While Flandreau was within striking distance, the Titans made things difficult with a zone defense that clogged up the paint and the Fliers couldn’t convert their opportunities on the outside, shooting 3-for-21 on 3-pointers in the game.

“I think the style of zone they were playing put them into some passing lanes and our girls just weren’t quite prepared for that,” Severtson said. “We did a better job in the second half taking care of the basketball but we just dug ourselves too big of a hole.”

The Titans built their lead to as many as 11 points and led 44-36 at the end of the third quarter but the Fliers went on a 6-2 run to make it a 46-42 lead on Sadie Iott’s layup with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter.

The Fliers had a chance to cut it to a one-possession game after Klein came up with a steal but a missed 3-pointer and layup by Claire Sheppard allowed Tea Area to extend their lead on Mara Grant’s lay-up with 2:31 to play.

After both teams exchanged a pair of scoreless possessions, Klein knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:36 to play to make it a 48-45 game. The Fliers got a stop on the other end when Vasecka missed a layup and committed her fifth foul of the game with 1:01 to play but Klien missed a hook shot at the rim on the next possession and Reese Hammerquist came up with a steal with 42 seconds to go.

With a couple of free throws down the stretch, the Titans advanced to a state semifinal matchup with Sioux Falls Christian on Friday night but Severtson still admired the effort of her team to fight their way back into the game.

“That’s just my girls,” Severtson said. “Their attitude. Their effort. They have a never-give-up mindset. I was really proud of how they responded.”

Klein finished with a team-high 19 points, four rebounds and three steals for the Fliers while Claire Sheppard finished with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, a pair of blocks and a steal. Pavlis had eight points and 13 rebounds while Iott had six points and four boards.

Ellie Clayberg led Tea Area with 17 points while Vasecka had 14 points, eight points, five assists and three steals. Haidyn West had nine points and Mara Grant had six points and five rebounds.

Flandreau shot 38 percent for the game and made 2-of-10 (20%) free throws. The Fliers out-rebounded the Titans 33-26 and committed 14 turnovers.

Tea Area shot 48 percent in the game including 5-of-9 (55.6%) on 3-pointers. The Titans made 9-of-14 (64.3%) free throws and committed 14 turnovers.

The loss dropped the Fliers to 23-1 on the season and sent them to the consolation bracket where they will face Hanson on Friday at 1:45 p.m. While Thursday’s loss was disappointing, Severtson says her team is focused on finishing the season strong in the final two games.

“I just reminded our girls that this loss tonight does not definite them or their season,” Severtson said. “I’m looking forward to how they’ll bounce back. It’ll show the true character of our team.”