The Milbank Bulldogs trailed by just three points at half time, but in the end they could not keep up with the undefeated Vermillion Tanagers. The game, part of the SoDak 16 round of high school boys basketball, was played on Tuesday, March 9, at the Mitchell Corn Palace.
“We did a really good job in the first half controlling the paint and cleaning up their misses. And, we hit some shots to make it a close game going into halftime,” said the Bulldogs’ head coach, Logan Diede.
“In the third quarter, Vermillion really attacked us inside with their big guys and started banging shots. There’s a reason they are 23-0. Nobody has figured out a recipe for four quarters against them yet. With that being
said, I am incredibly proud of our young men with how they approached the preparation leading up to the game, and how they competed all night. Vermillion had a fantastic second half, credit them for that. It fills me with pride knowing our young men were ready to compete against anyone, with everything they have. The end of the season is never easy, no matter when it ends.”
Milbank hung close to Vermillion in the first half. The Tanagers held the lead at 12-9 after the opening quarter, and both teams added 16 points to their totals in the second quarter. This left Vermillion on top at 28-25 at the midway mark.
The third quarter was brutal. The Bulldogs struggled to get into a rhythm with their offense and scored just three points. Vermillion came out hot and poured in 21 points. This gave the Tanagers a 49-28 cushion to start the fourth. In the last quarter, Milbank continued to struggle and Vermillion took advantage of the situation. The Bulldogs fell 67-37.
Will Cummins and Bennett Schwenn notched 14 points apiece to set the pace for the Dawgs. Cummins also grabbed five rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Schwenn added three rebounds and three assists.
Carter Hartman put up three points, one rebound, and one assist. Mason Riley added two points and one rebound. Stevie Ash made two points, four rebounds, and one steal. Wylie Mursu tacked up two points and five boards. Garrett Mertens contributed four rebounds and one assist and Justus Osborn and Aiden Foell each had one rebound.
Milbank connected on 15-of-37 shots from the field for 41 percent shooting. The Bulldogs snared 25 rebounds, had six assists, seven steals, and committed 21 turnovers.
Vermillion made 57 percent of their shots from the field, hitting 27-of-47 attempts. The Tanagers finished the game with 25 rebounds, six assists, 19 steals, and just eight turnovers.
“I’m thankful for this team and these players,” said Coach Diede. “Our seniors will be greatly missed. It’s been a fun ride with them for four years.”
Bulldog Seniors: (l. to r.) Will Cummins, Mason Riley, Coach Logan Diede, Carter Hartman, and Tanner Mertens