CHOUTEAU — Caden Parnell did not let a different jersey number affect him and particularly his shooting form Friday night.
The freshman had an 8-for-8 night at the free-throw line, including six free throws in the final two minutes as part of a game-clinching 14-3 run, to help Verdigris rally for a 60-50 victory against Cascia Hall to advance to the finals of the Chouteau Invitational at Wildcat Field House.
The Cardinals (12-4) extended their winning streak to a season-high five games and will meet Rejoice Christian, the defending Class 2A state champions, in the championship game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Eagles defeated host Chouteau in the other boys semifinal Friday.
In girls action, the Verdigris junior varsity—despite a team-high 9 points from Ciara Daniel—squandered a nine-point lead late in the third quarter and dropped a 35-30 decision to Salina in the consolation semifinals.
The Cardinals junior varsity will take on Westville at 10 a.m. Saturday for seventh place.
Boys | Verdigris 60, Cascia Hall 50: Parnell normally wears jersey number “0” but was sporting a jersey with number “25” on it against the Commandos.
He notched Verdigris’ final 6 points from the free throw line—and 8 points for the game—as the Cardinals battled back after Cascia Hall (5-10) took a 47-46 lead on a 3-pointer by Aidan Hicks with 4:19 to play.
“For a freshman, that’s huge to step up like that,” Verdigris coach Chris Houk said.
Trent Haddock, who had 9 points, made his third trey of the game with 3:41 remaining to put the Cardinals ahead for the final time and ignite the big game-ending spree that featured Verdigris forcing key turnovers and coming up with clutch free-throw shooting.
“Getting stops and (making) free throws. That’s what we preach,” Houk said.
For the game, Verdigris forced Cascia Hall into 21 turnovers, including five in the final period. The Cardinals ended up 22 of 26 at the free throw line, missing just one of 14 attempts in the second half.
“That (final run) is what comes about if you get stops,” Houk said.
Tyler Haddock finished with a double-double, tallying 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Brant Hager added 11 points and 6 boards.
Girls | Salina 35, Verdigris JV 30: After leading 15-13 at halftime, the Lady Cardinals opened the third quarter on a 10-3 run to take a 25-16 lead on Daniel’s follow shot with 2:20 to go in the period.
But that would be the final field goal for Verdigris in the game. Salina closed the gap to 25-20 entering the fourth period and finally caught the Lady Cardinals at 26-26 with 4:29 to play.
Free throws by Daeya Moses, who had 7 points, and Brooklyn Fugate, who notched 6 points, gave Verdigris a 28-26 advantage with 2:58 remaining.
But Sarah McCarter’s traditional three-point play put the Ladycats in front to stay, 29-28, with 2:41 left.
Verdigris left potential points at the free throw line going just 12 of 25 from the stripe with four of those misses coming on the front end of one-and-one situations.
VERDIGRIS 60, CASCIA HALL 50
VERDIGRIS—Tyler Haddock 16, Brant Hager 11, Trent Haddock 9, Caden Parnell 8, Ethan Bell 6, Zander Kirby 6, Jaren Keith 4.
CASCIA HALL—Luke Lawson 21, Hudson Darby 9, Grant Holley 9, Aidan Hicks 5, Grant Phillips 4, Aidan Welsh 2.
3-point field goals: Verdigris—Trent Haddock 3, Tyler Haddock 1. Cascia Hall—Lawson 3, Darby 2, Hicks 1.
Rebounds: Verdigris—Tyler Haddock 10, Hager 6, Parnell 4, Trent Haddock 3, Bell 3, Aaron Buntin 2, Keith 2, Logan Cagle 1. Cascia Hall—Holley 5, Hicks 4, Darby 3, Lawson 2, Patrick Pixley 1, Spencer Forbes 1, Phillips 1, Welsh 1.
SALINA 35, VERDIGRIS JV 30
VERDIGRIS JV—Ciara Daniel 9, Daeya Moses 7, Brooklyn Fugate 6, Logan Hamilton 4, Bailey Cravens 3, Halle Ryan 1.
SALINA—Maleah McCarter 14, Elizabeth Hope 8, Sarah McCarter 5, Baylee Hughes 4, Rian Six 2, Isabela Chitwood 2.