Claremore Daily Progress

February 25, 2013

Verdigris soars into 3A Regional Championship

Cardinals battle Kansas tonight in Muskogee

GLENN HIBDON
Sports Writer

VERDIGRIS — In a sluggish, ragged game, rebounding proved to be the difference for the Verdigris Lady Cardinals.

The Class 3A No. 5 Lady Cardinals (22-3) slammed the boards for 50 recoveries and limited Vian to just 31, easing to a 48-26 victory in regional tournament basketball Friday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.

Verdigris’ rebounding effort held the Wolverines to single shots while producing second chances for the home team.

Courtney Risenhoover, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, led the way with 16 points and 10 boards with Baileigh O‘Dell pitching in 15 points.

The Lady Cardinals bolted to a 9-0 lead and Vian never recovered.

The Wolverines got within 12-8 after the first quarter, but managed just one basket and four points in the second frame.

In a game that featured 37 turnovers, 20 by Vian, the visitor’s last futile gasp came when Jennifer Hunter followed her own stray shot, cutting the deficit to 29-21 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.

Verdigris scored the next nine points in a 14-2 run that produced a 43-23 bulge on O’Dell’s three-pointer with 2:07 into the final quarter.

The Lady Cardinals face the Kansas Lady Comets Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Muskogee Civic Center for a chance to advance to the area round of the playoffs.

Kansas toppled Hartshorne, 45-35 in the first round of the regional tournament at Muskogee.

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Once again, offensive balance, ball handling ability and three-point field goals proved the difference for the No. 4  Verdigris Cardinals.

Junior guard Tyler Monroe scored 22 points, senior forward Blake Battenfield chipped in 17 points, along with 14 rebounds, and it was enough to spur the Cardinals’ 74-50 victory over Westville in Class 3A regional tournament action Friday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.

Verdigris (21-4) committed just seven turnovers and drilled nine treys while finally shutting the door on the Yellowjackets’ Hershell Gifford.

Gifford, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, scored 19 points in the first half and all 12 of his team’s second quarter points, but just one in the second half before fouling out with 6:11 remaining.

Gifford scored the first six points of the game as Westville quickly shot out of the gate.

Verdigris tied the game at eight and a struggle for dominance ensued.

Monroe’s three-pointer created a 16-all knot, then he drove the lane for a layup, giving the Cards’ their first lead at 18-16.

Monroe scored 13 second-quarter points in leading Verdigris to a 38-28 lead at intermission.

Holding Gifford scoreless in the third period, the Cardinals finally pulled away.

A three ball from Dakota Brasher moved the gap to 56-39 late in the period and it grew to 67-47 on Brasher’s layin with 3:56 to go.

The Cardinals advance to play an 8 p.m. game Monday at the Muskogee Civic Center.

The Cardinals will also battle Kansas, who defeated Heavener, 58-42.

Armbrister tallied 13 points and Kendrick added 10 to lead the Comets’ offensive attack.