VERDIGRIS - Fresh off winning the Locust Grove Tournament championship over the weekend, coach Mike Buntin was afraid of a “trap’’ for his Verdigris Lady Cardinals against Miami Tuesday night on Homecoming. He needn’t have worried.
The 14th-ranked Cardinals forced 27 turnovers, shot 50 percent from two-point territory and created a 27-4 lead in cruising to a 59-34 victory, their 10th straight win in an 11-2 season. The Lady Wardogs lost for the 11th consecutive time and stand 1-11.
“It was an emotional weekend for us. We won a big tournament and I thought there could be a letdown with us playing homecoming,’’ said Buntin, whose Cardinals knocked off Adair 40-27 for the Locust Grove title. “But we came out and played hard in the second half and we were able to get some runouts. We got rebounds and we were able to get out in transition.’’
Verdigris put 14 players on the floor and 11 of them scored, led by Jordan Chancellor’s nine points. Lexy Borgstadt added eight points with four others tossing in six each. Mary Gilbert was the game’s only double digit scorer with 11 points for Miami.
The Wardogs did not score until the 1:41 mark of the opening period when they already trailed 13-0. With 19 turnovers, Miami was down 30-8 at halftime and faced a bleak future.
“We didn’t get focused early and at halftime they (his team) fixed it,’’ Buntin insisted. “We felt like we could be (a strong team this year) because we had a lot coming back. I think now we have a chance to be really good.’’
Miami did come within 16 points twice in the second half, but the Cardinals regrouped defensively and quickly dashed any Wardog hopes of getting closer.
VERDIGRIS 47, MIAMI 44: The Miami boys looked for all the world like the state’s best 2-9 team with a late push that took the outcome to the wire. Verdigris created the game’s biggest lead at 47-35 when Brock Fugate’s jumper from the lane fell through with 4:10 remaining.
The War Dogs scored the final nine points, coming within three on Houston Lafalur’s trey with 18 seconds to go. Terrance Krush, who led Miami with 21 points, failed on a three-pointer at :02 with Lafalur rebounding with eight-tenths of a second remaining. It was too late for the Wardogs.
Verdigris earned a second straight victory following a 58-53 win over Salina for third place in the Locust Grove Tournament. A 9-0 run in the second period put the Cardinals in front of Miami 21-11. VHS made 5-of-6 second quarter shots from the field in leading 26-17 at intermission.
Fugate scored 14 points and Trent Haddock 10, topping VHS scoring, and they helped fight off a Miami surge in the third period. Krush flushed a trey midway, slicing the Cardinals lead to 30-26. Back-to-back triples from Haddock helped regain a 38-28 gap for Verdigris, but the Wardogs refused to quit in the final four minutes.