INOLA — Megan Turner found ways to help the Verdigris girls basketball team both in the scorebook and on defense Saturday afternoon.
Turner scored all five of her points and dished a key assist in the final three minutes while spearheading a pivotal defensive sequence in the second quarter as the Class 4A No. 10 Cardinals upset Class 5A No. 7 Coweta, 41-36, to capture third place in the Jerry Oquin Basketball Tournament at Inola High School.
After enjoying a 20-10 lead at halftime and stretching that margin to 13 points in the first minute of the third quarter, Verdigris (4-1) saw the Tigers (2-3) stage a furious rally in the next 11 minutes.
During that stretch, Coweta outscored Verdigris 22-8 to move in front 32-31 on a follow shot by Madison Wheat with 3:40 to play.
The Tigers’ lead was its first since Wheat’s 3-pointer gave Coweta an 8-5 advantage with 7:01 to go in the second quarter.
Verdigris called a timeout after the Tigers had regained their advantage in the final period, and Turner promptly tallied her first points of the game on a drive to the basket to put the Cardinals ahead, 33-32.
“I had just challenged our guards during the timeout to step up,” Verdigris coach Mike Buntin said.
“Megan then got a huge basket for us.”
With the game knotted at 34, Turner canned a pair of free throws to give Verdigris the lead for good.
The senior guard then fed Lexy Borgstadt with a pass in the lane, and Borgstadt’s post move hoop increased the Cardinals lead to 38-34 with 1:31 remaining.
“Everyone else was pulling their role, and I needed to pull my role,” said Turner, whose final point came at the free throw line and stretched the Cardinals’ advantage to five with less than 30 seconds to play.
Borgstadt finished with a game-high 19 points. She ended up 6-of-8 at the free-throw line. Her two free throws with 11 seconds left provided the game’s final margin.
“Lexy is a really good player,” Turner said about her junior teammate, who added a third-quarter 3-pointer to her performance.
On defense, Turner played a big role in helping her team go on a 10-0 run to grab its double-digit cushion at halftime.
After Wheat’s go-ahead 3-pointer in the first minute of the second quarter, the Cardinals defense forced four Coweta turnovers while holding the Tigers without a field goal for the remainder of the period.
“Megan did a great job on Wheat during the second quarter,” Buntin said about Turner’s defense in limiting the Tigers senior guard to just two free throws in the period’s final seven minutes.
Kylee McGuire chipped in 5 points for Verdigris, while Kayla Darden and Jordan Chancellor notched 4 points apiece.
The win was the Cardinals’ second against a Class 5A opponent in the tournament. In the opening round, Verdigris topped No. 6 Pryor, 45-33.
“This was a good week for us,” Buntin said. “This is one of the most elite tournaments in the state. We’re really excited with the two wins.”
Turner hopes the early-season wins over Pryor and Coweta will bode well for the Cardinals.
“Hopefully it means that this will be a good season and that we will beat more than just the (Class) 5A schools," Turner said.