Tulsa Memorial showed Friday night why they are the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A.
The Chargers jumped on the Class 3A No. 5 Verdigris Cardinals early and stormed to a 69-54 win in the semifinals of the Port City Classic at Catoosa High School.
With the win, the Chargers advanced to the championship game Saturday night against Class 6A No. 6 Owasso.
The Cardinals, however, moved into the third-place game Saturday afternoon against Victory Christian.
From the opening tip, Tulsa Memorial had complete control and raced out to a 21-5 first quarter lead.
Devin Perez, who returned to the hardwood after sitting out last season and playing baseball, scored 10 points in the opening quarter on a pair of three-pointers and back-to-back 10-foot jumpers.
Tulsa Memorial’s lead grew to 35-20 at halftime as Anthony White countered Perez’s scoring with eight points and Grant Murphy added six in the paint.
Blake Battenfield tallied seven of his 12 points in the opening 16 minutes, while Cade Upshaw had six.
Coming out after halftime, Tulsa Memorial kept the pedal to the medal with strong inside play and extended the deficit to 53-38 in the third quarter.
MikQuan Dean and Murphy combined for 22 points in the paint, and Perez finished with 12 points on the perimeter.
Trailing 15 points with eight minutes to play, Verdigris chipped away at the deficit with Upshaw knocking down a three pointer and Battenfield also hitting an open trey.
The Cardinals also converted 8-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
The closest the Cardinals got to Tulsa Memorial in the second half was 42-28 in the third quarter on Tyler Hundley’s basket in the paint from Tyler Monroe.
Leonard Brockup also knocked down a three pointer with under four minutes in the third quarter to cut Tulsa Memorial’s lead to 44-31.
Along with Upshaw’s game-high 14 points, Battenfield also contributed with 12 and Hundley added seven for the Cardinals.