Claremore Daily Progress

March 3, 2014

Class 3A Regional Champions

Verdigris teams soar into Area Finals

Tim Ritter
Sports Editor

VERDIGRIS — It’s takes two to tango and the Verdigris basketball teams are dancing their way to the Class 3A Area Finals.

With a state tournament berth on the line Friday night,  both Verdigris teams return to a familiar place on the road to state in Oklahoma City.

The Class 3A No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals waltzed past Vian, 58-46 and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals decked Eufaula, 66-53 to cap off the regional championship night Saturday inside the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.

Both victories placed the Lady Cardinals and Cardinals into the area championship this Friday night in Checotah.

The Lady Cardinals will battle Tahlequah Sequoyah at 6:30 p.m., while the Cardinals will also face Tahlequah Sequoyah at 8 p.m.

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Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell came within two points of setting the all-time Verdigris High School scoring record as she finished with 23 points to lead the Lady Cardinals past Vian.

Despite the hostile environment, O’Dell and the Lady Cardinals made some noise of their own with an impressive second half on offense.

O’Dell paved the way in the first 16 minutes and finished with 18 of her 23 points to lead the Lady Cardinals to a 31-26 halftime lead.

The second-half, meanwhile, belonged to senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan, who finished with 15 points — 10 in the second half.

Hanslovan buried a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Lady Cardinals extended their margin to 45-33.

Freshman guard Keara Battenfield also contributed with 11 points, while junior forward Courtney Risenhoover added six and senior forward Taylor Beck finished with two.

The game remained close until Battenfield’s 3-pointer in the right corner increased the Lady Cardinals’ lead to 39-30 with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter.

Nese Walters led Vian with 16 points and Jennifer Hunter added 10.

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All five starters for the Cardinals scored in double figures Saturday night, including a team-high 13 points from Cade Upshaw, Laef Payne and Tyler Monroe.

The Verdigris trio combined for 39 of the Cardinals’ 66 points against a potent Eufaula lineup.

Both teams played nip-and-tuck throughout the first quarter with Eufaula clinging to an 11-8 lead.

Payne heated up in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his 13 points, and helped the Cardinals lead 29-22 at halftime.

Brewster Peacock and Caleb Jones also contributed with 12 points each as the Cardinals outscored Eufaula, 37-31 in the final 16 minutes.

Upshaw also scored 11 of his 13 points after halftime, while Ryan Skalnik closed out the Verdigris scoring with three points.

Daxton Williams led Eufaula with a game-high 15 points.