For the Verdigris boys’ basketball team, the energy was evident Saturday night.
Just not the execution when it counted most.
Verdigris led visiting Class 5A No. 10 Collinsville at halftime and the two teams were tied with six minutes to play but the inability to convert scoring opportunities down the stretch led to a 57-51 defeat on Senior Night at Verdigris High School.
Meanwhile, in girls’ action, the home team found its shooting touch from long distance connecting on four 3-pointers in the second half to pull away from Collinsville 44-31.
Both Verdigris teams will end regular-season action by traveling to Inola on Monday night.
The Verdigris girls (17-5), ranked No. 14 in Class 4A, will be seeking their third win this season against the Class 4A No. 19 Longhorns (17-4), who have won 10 in a row since a 50-35 setback Jan. 8 to Verdigris.
The Cardinals boys’ team (9-13)will face an 18th ranked Inola squad that has won five in a row and 10 of its last 11.
Collinsville 57, Verdigris 51 (boys): Verdigris took a three-point lead into the second half and increased that to a 30-26 margin in the first seconds of the second half on a free throw by Brock Fugate, who paced all scorers with 22 points. He also added eight rebounds.
But then the home team did not score a field goal in nearly five minutes. Collinsville (13-7) went on a 14-1 surge before Fugate scored on a drive to the basket to make it 40-33 deficit for Verdigris with 3:03 to go in the third quarter.
Still trailing seven to start the fourth quarter, a pair of 3-pointers from Michael Anderson and one from Logan Cagle highlighted a 9-2 run that knotted the contest at 47 with 5:45 to play.
But missed free throws and a couple of good looks inside the lane that went awry loomed large the rest of the way for Verdigris, which scored just one field goal in the final 5:45.
“We tried our hardest but we missed some shots late in the game,” Verdigris Head Coach Chris Houk said.
“That’s all you can do. You play for those chances. I hate it for our kids.”
Verdigris took early command, rattling off the game’s first six points. The home team matched its biggest lead of the half at 29-23 as Tyler Haddock, who had eight points and four rebounds, sandwiched a drive down the lane and a trey around a 3-pointer from Trent Haddock in the final stages of the first half.
While playing a ranked Class 5A team close may look good on paper, Houk said getting a victory is important.
“With kids, you need the ‘W’,” he said. “Even if the game is close, they need that success.”
Noah James and Garrett Still—both who started—were honored during pre-game Senior Night ceremonies. Still had six points and shared game-high honors with nine rebounds.
“This was the first year Garrett played and Noah contributes so much by encouraging his teammates.”
For Collinsville, Caden Fry notched 15 points and grabbed nine boards before fouling out while Gage Tacker chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.
Verdigris 44, Collinsville 31 (girls): Nursing a three-point halftime lead and ahead by just four points midway through the third quarter, a 3-pointer by Megan Turner—who had Verdigris’ only trey in the opening half—opened the floodgates for the home team.
With Turner connecting from long distance, Kylee McGuire followed suit with a pair of treys and Callie Battenfield added the Cardinals’ fourth bucket of the second half from beyond the arc to help move Verdigris out in front 35-26 with five minutes to play.
“Shots like that were great to get,” Verdigris Head Coach Mike Buntin said in reference to the plethora of his team’s 3-pointers in the second half.
After going 1-for-12 from long distance in the first half, Verdigris converted on 4 of 8 from beyond the arc in the final two quarters.
“This is the time of the season to get confidence in your three-point shooting,” Buntin said. “Earlier in the year we were making those shots.”
On Senior Night, all four of the team’s seniors—Caitlyn Fox, Ellie Franklin, Alissa Ryan and Battenfield—were in the starting lineup.
Franklin responded with six rebounds and nine points, including a 5-for-5 night at the free throw line as Verdigris made 13 of its 17 free throw attempts.
“She has had some really good moments for us this year,” Buntin said.
“Our seniors are not only great as players on the court but they are phenomenal kids,” the head coach added.
“They have done a great job of instilling our culture here.”
McGuire ended up with a team-high 12 points while Turner joined Franklin with nine points. Sophomore Lexy Borgstadt added seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Bryn Willt of Collinsville (5-15) topped all scorers with 21. She had 13 of her team’s 19 points in the second half.