Forcing some early turnovers, the Lennox High School girls’ basketball team jumped out to an early 20-3 after the opening quarter of SoDak 16 play in Madison against Miller.
Lennox never looked back, outscoring Miller 15-5 in the second and 12-6 in the third to get the eventual 55-20 victory, punching their ticket to the State A Tournament for the second straight year.
“I thought our seniors set the tone last night. It has been a goal for us to get back to the State Tournament and I don’t think our seniors would have cared if we were playing the Lakers last night, they were going to make sure the team got the opportunity to travel out to Rapid,” said LHS head coach Adam Quail. “The energy in the gym was contagious. Our fans brought it, the students brought it, the cheerleaders were awesome, our bench was fantastic, and all of that fed into our girls playing as hard as they did. So proud of them for making a statement in front of a full gym and showing basketball fans who have never seen us play what Lennox basketball is about.”
Leading the Orioles in their win were Madysen Vlastuin and Rianna Fillipi, each of whom were in double figures. Vlastuin hit a trio of threes in the game to finish with 22 points. She also had three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Fillipi finished the night with 18 points, had four rebounds, five assists and a team high eight steals.
Mara Hinker provided seven points, had four rebounds, and one assist. Isabel Ihnen also had seven points, four rebounds and four assists. Jenaka DeCou provided one point. Zoey Zebell had five rebounds and Drew Kuyper pulled down two.
With the win the Orioles will make a repeat trip back to the State A Tournament, after finishing third last year, losing to West Central in the semi-finals.
This marks the third trip in a four year span for the LHS girls, who earned runner-up honors in 2017.
“Getting to play three more games with this group of girls is very special. We have been together for a long time and knowing we get to continue to play for a State Championship makes all the hard work worth it,” said Quail. “It also helps knowing we have the school and community behind us as this team is a reflection of what we have going on here in the Lennox community - we work hard, we play unselfish, and we play together.”
This year’s State Tournament will be held March 19-17 in Rapid City at the Barnett Arena and Ice Arena. Lennox, ranked fourth in the bracket, will take on fifth ranked Red Cloud at 5 p.m. MT in the Barnett Arena on March 19.
A pep rally will be held for the team on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lennox High School gym. State t-shirts are available online until Friday morning at 9 a.m., a link can be found here. State tickets can be purchased at the venue or online, all tickets are general admission.
Prior to their win over Miller, the Orioles defeated Vermillion, 53-22, in the second round of playoffs to reach the SoDak 16.
Vlastuin led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds. Fillipi finished the night with 13 points and pulled down four rebounds. Hinker provided 12 points in the win.