MIDWEST CITY — In the opening moments of the game, Verdigris junior Cade Upshaw hit a 3-pointer, pounded his chest with a big smile, and stuck out three fingers on each hand.
The play painted a perfect picture of what would help lift Verdigris to a 68-59 victory over Spiro in the first round of the Class 3A boys state tournament at Carl Albert.
The Cardinals hit seven 3-pointers in the first half, three from Upshaw, to build a 39-23 lead after two quarters.
“That first half was terrific,” said Upshaw, who finished with 15 points. “We had been starting slow during our other games in the playoffs, so it was good to get it going early.”
Senior Caleb Jones led Verdigris with 19 points. Brewster Peacock, who also connected three times from 3-point range had 17 points.
“(Spiro) picked it up in the second half and started forcing us to take it to the basket, but we’ve also got some big guys we can dump it in to,” Upshaw said. “(Jones) really came through for us tonight inside.
“Because we have a lot of guys that can score, inside and outside, we can be tough to guard when we get that 3-point shot going.”
Spiro (24-3) was led by McKinley Whitfield’s 18 points.
Verdigris (25-4) advances to the semifinals to play Centennial at 4:30 p.m. on Friday inside State Fair Arena.