Claremore Daily Progress

December 29, 2012

Verdigris holds off Arnett

Glenn Hibdon
Sports Writer


Verdigris’ torrid shooting finally cooled in the second half, but the Cardinals held on to beat Arnett 71-67 on Friday in consolation bracket play of the Tournament of Champions at Mabee Center.
The victory sent the Cards to Saturday’s fifth-place game at 1:30 p.m.
Fourth-ranked Class 3A Verdigris (9-2) hit 61 percent from the field in the first half, but converted just 7-of-24 second half attempts in losing an early 18-point lead. Meanwhile, second-ranked Class B Arnett finished hitting 55 percent and survived 21 turnovers in nearly making good on its rally.
The Wildcats (9-4) trailed 29-14 after one period and 42-24 in the second before their second half comeback. Early on, the Cardinals simply shot over Arnett’ 2-3 zone defense, making 4-of-8 three-points in the opening frame and 6-of-13 in the half.
Arnett began whittling away at the Verdigris lead in the third period, slicing its 46-29 halftime deficit to 46-38 and 48-40 before the Cardinals regrouped to lead 57-42 on Cade Upshaw’s hoop from the lane.
Down by eight starting the final quarter, Arnett ignited a frantic rally. Nicholas Smith dropped in a layup and 6-foot-4 Tyler Tune meshed a turnaround shot in the lane to make it 57-53.
Smith scored in the lane, Tune laced two free throws and Garret Collins made one of two foul shots as the Wildcats crept within 59-58 at the 4:01 mark.
Blake Battenfield, who scored 17 points to back Upshaw’s 19, tallied on a layup, drew a foul from Tune, and added the bonus as the Cardinals lead grew to 62-58 with 3:35 remaining. Leonard Brockup and Upshaw knocked down treys to open a 68-62 lead in final minute and Verdigris held on.
Tune scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace the Wildcats.