Originally Published: Jan 21, 2010 8:14 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Mobile Journalist
CATOOSA, Oklahoma – From the opening tip, Tahlequah controlled the game and took down Verdigris easily, 60-45 Thursday in the opening round of the 44th Annual Catoosa Port City Classic.
Senior center Adam Stovall led the way for the Tigers with a team-high 18 points. His back-to-back dunks in the third quarter pushed the Tigers’ lead to 21 points.
Verdigris had no answer for the Tigers’ full court pressure in the first half. The Cardinals turned the ball over repeatedly in the first 16 minutes and trailed by eight heading into the second half.
Tahlequah opened the game on a 7-0 run and looked to establish Stovall early. Gunner Hickman handled the ball on offense and picked up a couple of nice steals on defense. The senior finished with seven points on the night.
The Cardinals got 16 points from Jake Culver. The 6-foot-4 center battled down low with Stovall all afternoon. Austin Monroe and Jared Whitmire each scored ten points for Verdigris.
Just before the fourth quarter, the officials called a technical foul on Cardinals’ junior guard Brian Phillips for screaming an obscenity after not getting a foul call. Verdigris coach Randy Upshaw pulled Phillips from the game, but he did return midway through the fourth quarter.
The Tigers got a balanced scoring effort from their starters. Michael Tinsley complimented Stovall and Hickman’s efforts with 11 points against the Tigers. Rusten Peace scored ten points, while Shadoe Scarsdale scored seven points.
The win means Tahlequah will face off with the winner of the Bixby and Bartlesville matchup in Friday’s second round at 5:30 p.m. Verdigris falls to the loser’s bracket and will play the loser of the Bixby and Bartlesville game at 11:30 a.m.