VERDIGRIS – This year, Verdigris girls basketball coach Mike Buntin set a goal of 20 turnovers per game for the Lady Cardinals defense.
It had nearly that many in the first quarter alone.
Class 4A No. 7 Verdigris forced 15 turnovers in the opening frame and 40 total while cruising to a 73-26 victory over Miami in the season opener Tuesday night at the Verdigris Activity Center. The Lady Cardinals (1-0) tallied three, 15 and seven takeaways in the final three periods, respectively, to reach the unprecedented mark while committing only 13 giveaways in comparison.
“It was a lot, and that’s what we try to do every night,” Buntin said. “We know sometimes we’re going to struggle in the backcourt, but we feel like we can get out and put a lot of pressure on people and turn them over. We have two extremely athletic guards in Morgan (Borgstadt) and Jordan (Chancellor), and we just really want to use their speed, their quickness and their length to cause problems and jumpstart our offense.”
Those turnovers, of course, led to a lot of points.
Four girls scored in double figures for Verdigris, with Morgan Borgstadt and Jordan Chancellor leading the way. Borgstadt, a sophomore, finished with a game-high 19 points in addition to four rebounds while Chancellor, a senior, registered 13 points with a rebound.
Maddy Daniels, only a freshman, contributed 11 points and a rebound, and senior Lexy Borgstadt added 10 points and four boards. Makenzie Blackwell (eight points, three rebounds) and Bobbi Jones (seven points, two rebounds) had notable performances as well.
The Lady Cardinals were also successful from the line, hitting 12 of 17 free throws. Miami made the same amount on eight more attempts.
That balanced offensive attack and the suffocating defensive pressure proved to be a lethal combination early, for Verdigris built a 29-0 lead before the Lady Wardogs finally scored their first basket. Sara Acupan ended the drought at the 7:15 mark of the second quarter.
Acupan managed six points and three rebounds while Beca Hopping led Miami with seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Kylie Jinks had four points and six boards.
“Watching film, we knew they were much more improved than last year skill wise, but we still felt like we could pressure the ball and force some turnovers,” Buntin said. “And we did. We did a really good job, and Morgan and Jordan got their hands on a lot of balls. Lexy struggled scoring tonight, but she did so many little things defensively and rebounding wise, and I’m really proud of how she played.”
Up next: The Lady Cardinals take on No. 10 Victory Christian at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the Jerry Oquin Tournament at Inola. Verdigris lost to the Lady Conquerors 33-24 in the semifinals of last year’s event.
VERDIGRIS 73, MIAMI 26
MIAMI — Hopping 7, Acupan 6, Preaus 4, Hammons 4, Jinks 4, Bolton 1.
VERDIGRIS — Morgan Borgstadt 19, Jordan Chancellor 13, Maddy Daniels 11, Lexy Borgstadt 10, Blackwell 8, Jones 7, Daniel 3, Adkins 1, York 1.
3-point goals: Miami — Hammons 1. Verdigris — Daniels 3, Blackwell 2, M. Borgstadt 1, Chancellor 1, Jones 1, Daniel 1.
Free throws: Miami 12-25. Verdigris 12-17
Rebounds: Miami — Beca Hopping 11, Team 11, Jinks 6, Acupan 3, Payton 3, Hammons 3, Preaus 3, Smith 1, Cook 1. TOTAL 42. Verdigris — M. Borgstadt 4, L. Borgstadt 4, Team 4, Blackwell 3, Jones 2, Jones 2, Stout 1, Chancellor 1, Adkins 1, Daniels 1, Cravens 1. TOTAL 24.
Turnovers: Miami 40. Verdigris 13.