High School Girls Basketball

Vermillion beats Tea Area for Class A state title

A fourth-quarter comeback helped the Tanagers defeat the Titans for the championship on Saturday night.


BROOKINGS – The Vermillion Tanagers claimed the state championship as they defeated the Tea Area Titans 60-54 in the championship game of the State Class A Girls Basketball Tournament at the Dacotah Bank Center on Saturday night.

The Tanagers entered the tournament as the fourth seed and knocked off fifth-seeded Mahpíya Luta 41-37 on Thursday and top-seeded Sisseton 50-47 on Friday night.

The Titans also picked up a pair of upsets on their way to the title game, defeating third-seeded Flandreau 52-47 on Thursday night and second-seeded Sioux Falls Christian 48-44 on Friday night.

Saturday’s game started with a quick pace as Tea Area used an 8-2 run to take a 22-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Titans’ lead got up to 11 points on Mara Grant’s layup with 5:34 left in the second quarter but Vermillion rallied to cut the lead down to 39-35 at halftime.

The Titans broke the game open again with a 9-0 run in the third quarter but Vermillion was able to cut it to 50-44 going into the fourth quarter.

The Tanagers opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run that was capped by Kasey Hanson’s 3-pointer with 3:04 to play. Nursing a 54-52 lead, Vermillion’s defense made sure it held up, making three straight stops before Brooke Jensen scored a lay-up to put the Tanagers up 56-52 with 1:26 to go.

Another stop by Vermillion turned the game into a free throw contest in the final minute and the Tanagers had just enough to secure the state championship.

Chandler Cleveland led the Tanagers with 20 points in the win while Taylor Ruevers had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds. Hanson had 12 points and Brooklyn Voss had eight points in the win.

Katie Vasecka had 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Titans while Grant had 16 points and eight rebounds. Ellie Clayberg and Jaycie Babb had 10 points each.

Vermillion shot 48 percent from the floor including 5-for-11 on 3-pointers. The Tanagers also made 11-of-19 free throws and committed eight turnovers.

Tea Area shot 45 percent from the floor and made 3-of-14 (21%) 3-pointers. The Titans made 9-14 free throws, committed 10 turnovers and out-rebounded Vermillion 30-27.

Vermillion finished the year with a record of 22-4 while Tea Area finished the season with a record of 21-5.