BY JOHN DUBOIS
Seniors Mikayla Kinneer, Kylee Karr, Taylor Turchi, and Darby Martin combined for 33 points as the defending champion North Vermillion Lady Falcons earned a return trip to the title game of the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils Classic with a 35-26 win over the Shiloh Lady Raiders.
Kinneer had a game-high 10 points, Turchi and Martin added nine points each, and Karr chipped in with five points.
“It feels really good to make the title game in both years that we have come this tournament,” said North Vermillion coach Terry Naylor. Our four seniors are pretty darn good players.”
Kinneer would score two early baskets for the Falcons, but it was a defensive struggle early with the Falcons ending the first quarter with a 6-5 lead. Shiloh would tie the game at 12-12, but North Vermillion would take a 14-12 lead into half-time. The Falcons held the Raiders scoreless for six minutes to start the game.
“We did a great job defensively,” Naylor said. “Our quickness gave them a lot of problems. Lauren Moses is a good post player for Shiloh, and the best post-defense you can play is to pressure the ball, and we did a nice job of that. I don’t think they see to often the kind of pressure we are able to bring.”
Shiloh would tie the game at 14-14 early in the third quarter, but a three by Turchi would ignite a 7-0 run which gave the Falcons a lead they would hold for the rest of the game.
“That shot did open things up for us a bit,” said Naylor. “We didn’t get Taylor involved enough early, but we were able to get her some good looks later in the game.”
The Falcons would end the third quarter with a 22-16 lead.
The lead would reach a high of ten points at 29-19 midway through the fourth quarter. Led by Turchi (6-for-7), free-throw shooting was a key to the game as the Falcons scored 12 points from the foul line while the Raiders shot 8-for-18.
“We normally don’t do that and score that many our points from the foul line,” Naylor said. “All season we really haven’t shot that many free throws until this tournament. Our full court pressure created some easy opportunities early, and we had a lot of good looks, but we couldn’t get a lot of our shots to fall. We failed to complete some opportunities, but I can’t complain about our offensive effort.”
In their first game of the day, Falcons defeated the Westville Lady Tigers 45-19.” We got up big early in this game and were able to rest some of our players which were another key for the Shiloh game, Naylor said. I was making a conscious effort to rotate our guards and inside players because I knew we were more rested than Shiloh was. That was a benefit for us and our bench did a very nice job.”
Kinneer and Martin each had 12 for North Vermillion, while Ashley Hoffman and Dani Gabehart each had five for Westville.
The Falcons will face a familiar foe in Seeger in the final. The Patriots defeated Unity 38-25 and Salt Fork 44-16.
Kirsten Irvine scored 20 against the Storm, while Miranda Synesael scored nine for Seeger while Becky Middleton had 10 in the game against Unity.
Bismarck-Henning lost 42-25 to Villa Grove and 39-21 to Unity. Brooke Walsh had 11 points for the Blue Devils against Villa Grove and she and Lindsay Andrews each had six against Unity.
Westville also lost 71-22 to the Watseka Warriors as Hoffman had nine points and Gabehart added five. Salt Fork lost earlier in the day to Villa Grove 44-38 as Taylor Vice had nine points and Jenny Kimbro added eight.