Verdigris stole one from Tahlequah Sequoyah during homecoming Friday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.
The visiting No. 10 Lady Indians had just two turnovers in the fourth quarter, but the last one proved fatal, giving the fifth-ranked Lady Cardinals a 51-49 victory in Class 3A basketball.
Baileigh O’Dell, who finished with a team-leading 18 points, stole the ball and drove three-quarters of the court for a layup in final second as Verdigris improved to 19-3. Homecoming queen Stacia Payne added 12 points, all in the first half.
O’Dell and Payne scored 22 of the Cardinals’ 24 first-half points and dominated offensively until Audrey Ballou placed Sequoyah’s offensive thrust on her back in the third period. Ballou chucked in 19 points and got 11 of them in the third frame while eliminating a 29-21 Indians deficit.
Ballou’s three-point shot at the third quarter horn lifted her team to a 36-35 lead and the heat was on for the Cardinals. Feather Pacheco laced another trey 1:08 into the final quarter, giving Sequoyah a 42-39 edge. Verdigris never saw the lead again until O’Dell’s winning bucket.
Down 45-39 with under two minutes to play, the Cardinals were forced to foul. They found the right person in the Indians’ Baylee Ratliff. Ratliff finished the game 3-of-10 from the foul line, all in the fourth quarter, and failed on four crucial attempts five seconds apart.
Verdigris’ Camry Collins took advantage and tied the game at 49 on a lay in with 22 seconds remaining. The Indians played for the last shot, but O’Dell spoiled their plans in the last second.
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Senior Blake Battenfield suffered from a slow start against Dewey on Tuesday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.
Things changed on Friday against Tahlequah Sequoyah.
Battenfield exploded out of the gate, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting, leading fourth-ranked Verdigris to a 54-47 homecoming victory over the No. 9 Indians.
The Cardinals (18-4) shot 53 percent from the field and converted 9-of-15 three-point attempts in surviving 22 turnovers against Sequoyah’s trapping defense.
Verdigris built a 48-31 lead early in the final period, then watched as the Indians reeled off 10 consecutive points to close within seven.
Sequoyah finally pulled within 52-47 when junior guard Caisen Green hit two free throws with 1:16 left.
The Indians then re-engaged their back court pressure, but it did no good. Cade Upshaw swished two foul shots at the 31-second mark to stymie Sequoyah.
Battenfield came out hard in the first quarter, nailing all five of his shots, including three treys.
The Indians’ half court trap forced 12 Cardinal first-half turnovers, but they atoned with 10-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc.
Three treys in the third period boosted Verdigris to a 45-29 lead and the game appeared well in hand.
But Green and B.J. Leach refused to buckle.
Green scored 12 of his 17 points in the final period in propelling his team from behind.
Leach got 16 points overall, however, the pair didn’t receive enough support and the Indians’ rally fizzled.