VERDIGRIS – Making two out of every three shots it put in the air, Verdigris finally turned away rival Sequoyah Friday night at Jack Collins Sports Complex.
The Cardinals drained 20-of-30 attempts (66.7 percent) in shading the Eagles 53-46 in a tense Class 4A basketball contest that was still unsettled through the first couple of minutes of the final period.
Sequoyah coach Larry Grigg pointed toward Larry Fugate igniting Verdigris with a steal, layup and free throw to make it 48-38 at 6:07 of the fourth. Just 48 seconds later, Fugate drove the baseline for another layup and a 50-38 bulge.
With the Cardinals (9-12) refusing to miss, the outcome had virtually been decided.
“I’m happy with the way we finished. We finally started executing and setting screens the way we wanted to set them,’’ said Verdigris boss Chris Houk. “We did have a slow start, hopefully because good defense was being played by both teams. We started making baskets by being more aggressive and attacking.’’
There were nine lead changes in the first half despite the Cardinals launching just four shots in the opening period. Sequoyah secured an 8-7 lead at the end of the quarter when Jack Olari managed a lay in with 26 seconds left. Olari, a junior guard, paced the Eagles with 14 points.
“We knew we had a chance to be in it unless they got to 60 (points),’’ Grigg said of the Cardinals’ offense. “Our bench was good tonight and Olari, (Braxton) Bulman and (Nathan) McKellips played well. Our defense was also pretty good, but they (the Cards) had that one little run.’’
Grigg said his team has been playing well overall, but each game a glitch makes the difference. This time the Eagles saw the Cardinals inch away late in the third quarter. After junior forward Wyatt Jacobs cashed a trey, then added a layup to pull Sequoyah within 40-38, Verdigris reeled off 10 consecutive points and grabbed a chokehold on momentum.
Fugate was the offensive catalyst for Verdigris, scoring 23 points, hitting 8-of-10 from two-point range. Tyler Haddock added 13 points.
VERDIGRIS 59, SEQUOYAH 20 (girls): Lady Cardinals coach Mike Buntin said he was pleased his team’s shooting, but he also could have included rebounding as well.
No. 14 Verdigris shattered Sequoyah on the glass 42-22 and rolled to its 16th victory in 21 games. The Cardinals scored the game’s first 15 points, opened a 39-5 lead and cruised.
•VHS forced the Lady Eagles into seven turnovers in the first quarter and 18 overall, allowing Sequoyah just four floor shots in the first period and 13 in the half.
•Freshman guard Emma Blackwood came off the bench to lead the Eagles with six points. Verdigris used 14 players and 11 scored, led by Kylee McGuire with 16 points Megan Turner 11.