Fourth-ranked Verdigris shot nearly 50 percent and forced Sperry into 22 turnovers, finally pulling away for a 73-41 home opening victory Tuesday night in Class 3A girls basketball.
The 2-0 Cardinals placed four players in double figures and sank nine three-point hoops in securing a win that was still undecided until midway in the third quarter.
Freshman guard Keara Battenfield hit 6-of-7 field goals in scoring 15 points for the Cards followed by Caitlyn Hanslovan with 13 points, Baileigh O’Dell 11 and Courtney Risenhoover 10. Emily Neece topped Sperry with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Early pressure defense was effective for Verdigris in building a 17-3 lead. The Cardinals created seven first-period turnovers before the Pirates became more patient in the second quarter and got the ball inside. A 10-0 run cut the home team’s lead to 17-13 and Sperry made just one turnover in the second frame.
Kylie Barbee passed inside to Battenfield for a layup as the Cardinals’ lead reached 21-13 with three minutes remaining before halftime.
Barbee followed with a three-pointer from the left wing to make it a nine-point bulge and the gap remained 28-19 at the half.
One last surge saw Sperry come within 34-30 on a 25-foot bomb from Meghan Winford midway in the third quarter. Risenhoover converted inside and then passed to Battenfield for a layup to make it 38-30 and the heat was on for Sperry.
The Pirates committed eight turnovers in the third period and six more in the fourth.
Verdigris only turned the ball over three times in the second half.
A 16-2 run opened a 50-32 gap for the Cardinals heading into the fourth quarter.