VERDIGRIS — It was a night of unlikely heroes for Verdigris basketball.
Lexy and Morgan Borgstadt normally serve as the girls’ bulk scorers, but it was senior Megan Turner who paced the ninth-ranked Lady Cardinals with 13 points and four rebounds in a 53-43 win over No. 12 Oologah in Jack Collins Fieldhouse on Friday night.
She entered the contest averaging less than 5 points per game.
Trent Haddock took up a similar role in the boys game, taking weight off his high-scoring brother, Tyler, with 16 points and five rebounds to help Verdigris rally to a 70-61 victory.
The boys return to action against Colcord at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Choteau Invitational.
Meanwhile, the varsity girls are off until the opening of the Verdigris Activity Center on Jan. 28 against Hilldale. Junior varsity girls take on Choteau at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Choteau Invitational.
Girls | Verdigris 53, Oologah 43: Megan Turner refused to let sickness hold her back.
The senior developed flulike symptoms shortly after Verdigris’ thrilling one-point win over No. 7 Vinita on Tuesday, and she was still battling the illness mere hours before tipoff against the Lady Mustangs.
However, it turns out she didn’t need to be 100 percent to log her best performance of the season.
“I was playing no matter what,” she said. “I’m on medicine now, so I’m feeling a lot better.”
Turner scored 8 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Lady Cardinals (13-3) to their sixth-straight victory in a 53-43 decision against Oologah.
Her 3-pointer to open the final frame gave Verdigris an 18-point lead—it’s largest of the game—at 41-23.
“It was nothing, really,” said Turner, who shot 4-of-5 from the floor. “It was just being in the right spots and my teammates getting me the ball. It was a team effort.”
The Lady Mustangs (9-4), led by Baylie DeSpain and Karly Woodsworth, trimmed the deficit back to single digits at 48-40 with a 17-8 run, but Turner hit a trio of free throws in the waning moments to keep them out of reach.
“Oologah started pressing us, and we were starting to freak out,” Turner said. “I was just trying to calm everyone down.”
DeSpain managed 14 points to lead all scorers, and Woodsworth added 9. Kiah Purdunn finished in double figures as well with 10 points.
Verdigris coach Mike Buntin said though Turner has averaged only 4 points per game throughout her career as a Lady Cardinal, her contributions are irreplaceable.
“Megan is our glue,” Buntin said. “She’s the one who holds us together. She’s a four-year starter and she does every little thing that we ask as coaches. She’s always in the right spot, and she can play any position on the floor. As a freshman, she was a post player for us. She made a lot of free throws down the stretch, and she’s our best pure shooter, so I believed in her.
“She has total control over whatever she wants.”
Lexy Borgstadt finished close behind Turner with 12 points, six of which came during a 25-7 run in the third and early fourth periods. The junior also led the squad with eight rebounds.
Kayla Darden made her presence known as well, notching 8 points and seven rebounds.
Boys | Verdigris 70, Oologah 61: Qualan Johnson delivered quite a moving speech.
“You can be that guy who everyone can count on each and every night,” the Life.Church Catoosa youth pastor said, according to Verdigris coach Chris Houk. “Not just two guys or the ones who you normally count on, but any of you guys.”
That message must’ve stuck with Trent Haddock.
The junior scored 13 of his 16 points in the third quarter, helping turn an early second-half deficit into a 70-61 Cardinal victory over Oologah.
“(Johnson) just told us we should have confidence and believe in our abilities that God gave us, and I felt like I did that tonight,” Trent Haddock said. “I just trusted my abilities and tried to lead my team by example.
“I’ve been struggling lately, but tonight I didn’t. I just did what I could and went out there and played my hardest.”
Trent Haddock’s first points of the second half came on a 3-pointer, giving the Cardinals (9-4) only their second lead of the game at 34-32. They never trailed again.
Jaren Keith secured the team’s first advantage only moments before with a 3-ball of his own as part of a run in which he outscored the Mustangs 11-1.
Of course, Trent Haddock wasn’t the only one motivated by Johnson’s wise words.
Keith was his usual self, scoring a game-high 18 points with three rebounds, but Ethan Bell was close behind with 16 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s in there, and we know it’s in there,” Houk said of Trent Haddock’s potential. “The great thing about this team is on any given night, any of those guys can go off.”
Trent Haddock and Bell’s increased production provided a nice change of pace for Tyler Haddock, who normally carries a bulk of the scoring load for Verdigris with more than 20 points per game.
He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds this time around.
Houk expressed concern over his team’s distribution of scoring after the Cardinals’ 65-56 loss to Sequoyah Tahlequah in the Bank of Locust Grove Invitational on Jan. 13.
Tyler Haddock scored 30 points in that game, but the next highest scorer, Caden Parnell, had only 10 points.
Friday night’s performance showed just how dangerous the Cardinals can be when they move the ball around and get others involved.
Those contributions helped Verdigris overcome a 23-11 deficit in the second quarter, outscoring Oologah 59-38 the rest of the way.
“I know Tyler is happy for this team, and he’s fine with scoring 10 as long as we get the W,” Houk said. “That’s where the maturity from the last two years got him.”
Konnor Davis led the Mustangs (8-5) with 17 points and five rebounds. Cody Elrod chipped in 13 points and four rebounds, and Josh Garrison paced Oologah on the boards with seven rebounds to go along with 8 points.