Scoring balance was again the name of the game, rocketing No. 3 Verdigris to an 83-59 victory over Lincoln Christian Friday night at Jack Collins Field House.
For the second straight game, all five starters reached double numbers as the Cardinals improved to 7-1 behind a determined offensive onslaught led by junior Cade Upshaw’s 21 points. Senior post player Caleb Jones contributed 16 points, Laef Payne and Tyler Monroe 15 each and freshman Brewster Peacock 10.
“We scored a lot of points and we should score the ball, that doesn’t surprise me, but I was disappointed we couldn’t guard the ball better.’’ said Verdigris coach Randy Upshaw. “We also missed a lot of shots around the basket, point blank shots. I think we were fatigued in the first half.’’
Tired or not, the Cardinals scored 20 consecutive points after the Bulldogs opened the game with a pair of three-point baskets. Peacock flushed nine of his 10 points in the first period on 4-of-5 shooting after Lincoln’s six turnovers allowed Verdigris to run.
Riley Young finished with 21 points and Colby Starr piled up 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs remained calm. Trailing 27-12 at one point in the first quarter, Lincoln cut its deficit to 29-25 midway in the second period, remaining within striking distance while trailing 42-31 at the half.
“I think the (final) score is misleading,’’ said Upshaw. “They (the Bulldogs) were still in the game in the fourth quarter. I think we missed too many shots, but we do have balance. They can take away some things. two or three players, and we’ve still got options.’’
Lincoln Christian cut the Verdigris lead to 44-39 in the third period, but Cade Upshaw took control. The long-shooting guard scored nine points in the frame and made all five of his free throws as the home team inched ahead 58-46.
A trey by Payne increased the Cardinals’ cushion to 64-48 just 1:15 into the final quarter and Jones scored three straight hoops, capped by a free throw, as the Verdigris lead ballooned to 75-55 with two minutes left.
The Cardinals face Westville in the Locust Grove Tournament Monday at 5:50 p.m.