VERDIGRIS – Damon Phelps’ three-point shot at the buzzer came up just short, allowing Verdigris to escape with a 70-67 upset victory over Class 4A 11th-ranked Catoosa Friday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.
The Cardinals (4-8) meshed 9-of-12 free throws in the final period and managed to overcome the Indians’ 53.1 percent shooting from the field in dealing the visitors only their third loss in 13 games. Verdigris connected on 48.8 percent of its shots and rallied from a 12-point second quarter deficit.
Freshman Jaren Keith topped the Cardinals with 16 points while Brock Fugate and Michael Anderson collected 15 each and Tyler Haddock 12. Phelps poured in 31 points for Catoosa with Gavin Phillips chipping in 12.
Catoosa shredded Verdigris’ 2-1-2 and 1-2-2 zone defenses in the first half with shooting from behind the arc and scored 11 consecutive points in building a 27-15 lead. The Cardinals had eight turnovers at the time, but gradually turned the game around.
Despite hitting 60 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, the Indians led by just 30-24. The Cardinals stepped up their defensive pressure in the third quarter and cut off Catoosa’s three-point freedom.
Anderson’s trey finally produced a 44-44 tie with 1:36 left in the third period before J Coons scored and added a free throw to again give Catoosa the lead. Ahead 50-47 heading into the final frame, the Indians began to wilt.
Keith’s triple put the Cardinals in front for the first time at 53-52 just 53 seconds deep into the fourth quarter.
Fugate dropped through a layup and Verdigris led for keeps 55-54 at 4:46. The Cards mounted a 64-56 bulge before the Indians rallied behind the three-ball.
Phelps knocked down three treys in the final 90 seconds and Catoosa got within 68-67 on a hoop from Mike Dillon. Forced to foul with 2.4 seconds to go, the Indians sent Keith to the line and he cashed both shots to secure the victory.
Catoosa girls 49, Verdigris 47 — The Catoosa Lady Indians completed a successful comeback against Verdigris, winning 49-47 on Cheyenne Sanders’ spinning layup following an inbounds pass with six seconds remaining. The Lady Cardinals opened an 11-point lead in the second quarter before Catoosa dominated the third period.
Sanders led the Indians with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Junior Alissa Ryan paced Verdigris with 10 points.
Catoosa overcame a cold-shooting first half by hitting 61.1 percent in second and won despite being outrebounded 40-27. The Indians (7-6) trailed 22-11 at one point before rallying to take their first lead at 34-32 on Skylar Peaster’s trey with 50 seconds left in the third frame.
The Cardinals led for the last time 39-38 on Lexi Weilert’s follow shot before Brittain Garrett ran off five straight points for Catoosa. Callie Battenfield finally pulled Verdigris even again on a three-point shot from the key with 33 seconds remaining.
That allowed the Indians to work the clock down, call time and setup the inbounds pass to Sanders for the winning bucket at :06.