VERDIGRIS — Lexy Borgstadt was fed up with her performance.
After missing several routine shots in the first half, the Verdigris junior entered halftime with only 2 points. She couldn’t help but feel she was playing at a level well beneath her standards.
She undoubtedly needed a pick-me-up; something to boost her confidence.
As Borgstadt sat stewing in frustration, Lady Cardinals coach Mike Buntin’s speech struck a chord with her.
“At halftime, he said we needed to find our guts,” Borgstadt said. “I was really mad at myself for missing easy shots in the beginning, so I came out and said I can’t miss anymore. It had to change.”
And change it did.
Borgstadt scored 12 of her 16 points in the third quarter, helping Class 4A No. 8 Verdigris maintain its insurmountable lead on the way to a 59-29 win over Rogers County rival Sequoyah at Jack Collins Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Her run ballooned the Lady Cardinals’ lead from 16 to 22 points, and no other Verdigris player scored until a pair of 3-pointers from Kylee McGuire, who finished with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, late in the frame.
Borgstadt also snagged four rebounds, two steals and a block.
“We knew we had to get her going and get her confidence back up,” Buntin said of Borgstadt, who went 5-of-12 from the floor. “She’s kind of struggled and has been hit or miss as the season’s gone on, so we came out in the third quarter and ran a couple of sets to get her shots under the basket. Then she made a great read and got an open 3 out of our movements.”
Borgstadt was awarded some well-deserved rest after adding another basket in the fourth quarter, increasing the Lady Cardinals’ advantage to 27 points at 49-22.
Coincidentally, it was Borgstadt’s younger sister, Morgan, who counteracted her offensive struggles in the first half.
Morgan Borgstadt tallied 11 points, eight of which came in the first half. She too shot 5-of-12, but the freshman notched seven rebounds and six steals as well.
As successful as the Verdigris offense was, the defense was perhaps even more impressive.
The Lady Cardinals (6-1) held the Lady Eagles (1-5) to only 9-of-32 shooting (28.1 percent) while also forcing 30 turnovers, 17 of which came in the second and third quarters.
All of that despite having three starters in early foul trouble. Because of that, some reserves were able to record some playtime even before the game got out of hand in the second half.
Emily Stout was one of those lucky few, and she didn’t squander the opportunity. The sophomore played 11 minutes despite having no varsity experience from the previous six games.
“She didn’t hit any shots or get any assists, but she came in and did what we needed her to do,” Buntin said. “She was great defensively, she was in the right spots, she was in her gaps, she guarded the ball extremely well and she didn’t turn it over.
“I was really proud of the minutes she gave us in the first half.”
Verdigris’ defense on Sidney Roland was another reason for Sequoyah’s lack of offensive production.
Roland has been the Lady Eagles’ go-to for most of the young season, but her first points didn’t come until the final seconds of the first half.
The sophomore guard was limited to only three field goals, finishing with 10 points. She hit Sequoyah’s only two 3-pointers.
Kyra Crenshaw was the Lady Eagles’ second leading scorer with 7 points.
“We put our two longest and best athletes on her—Jordan Chancellor and Morgan Borgstadt—and shaded her all night,” Buntin said. “We told them you can’t leave her. You can stunt to help on the ball, but you better get back quick and make sure she doesn’t get a clean look. We knew she was their best offensive player.”
Verdigris is back in action from Dec. 26-28 for the Mustang Invitational, and Sequoyah is off until it welcomes Miami to Olan Graham Field House on Jan. 7.