SEQUOYAH – Verdigris nailed 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes to ease past stubborn Sequoyah 53-43 Tuesday night in Olan Graham Field House.
Despite snapping a five-game losing streak by drilling 11-of-15 foul shots in the final period, the Cardinals biggest score came with 1:32 remaining when Tyler Haddock laced a trey, giving his team a 47-43 lead. It proved to be a dagger in the Eagles’ hearts.
“When that long three went in, it was a pressure release,’’ said Verdigris coach Chris Houk, whose team improved to 2-5. “We got some stops, gave them one shot and then it came down to free throws. It was a great Christmas present for sure. At times we played well and at times we didn’t, but we persevered and it ended up good for us.’’
In a game with 12 lead changes and five ties, the Cardinals went ahead for good with 2:01 left when sophomore guard Jaren Keith cashed a pair at the line for a 44-42 edge. Then came Haddock’s three ball and Verdigris finished the Eagles with six more free throws, four of them by Michael Anderson.
Haddock and Anderson each scored 16 points with 17 from junior Brock Fugate leading the way. Dakota Page tossed home 18 points in pacing Sequoyah and sophomore Blake Bedsworth had 10.
“We played hard, but we got in hurry,’’ said Eagles coach Larry Grigg. “In the fourth quarter we had four straight stops and then couldn’t score four straight times.
“We’ve got to make our free throws in a close game and we didn’t shoot good enough from three. I think experience was a difference. We just brought back one starter this season and we’ve got to grow up.’’
Sequoyah made 11-of-18 free throws, including 5-of-8 in the fourth quarter, and 2-of-13 treys. One problem for the Eagles saw six turnovers in the last period with the game on the line. The home did start fast with 10 consecutive points producing a 15-11 lead in the second quarter. SHS was in front 36-32 late in the third before the Cardinals rallied to victory in the fourth.
VERDIGRIS 49, SEQUOYAH 29 (girls)
Verdigris broke a 6-6 tie with 19 consecutive points and held Sequoyah scoreless for 9:13 in racing to victory. The 16th-rated Lady Cardinals improved to 5-2 with stiff defensive pressure that resulted in four straight steals for layups, opening a 14-6 lead late in the first period.
Junior Megan Turner led Verdigris with eight points as 10 of 16 players scored. Alissa Ryan, a 5-10 senior, scored seven. Tori Wood and Sidney Roland each got 10 points for the Lady Eagles.
Cardinals coach Mike Buntin said 40 percent free throw shooting had plagued his team all season and VHS hit just 2-of-9 against Sequoyah. In the end it didn’t matter with the Cardinals making 56 percent of their two-point attempts.
Verdigris built a 40-15 bulge with Jordan Chancellor’s bucket in third period and finally compiled a 49-22 spread on Kylee Darden’s layup with 5:08 remaining.