Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
The Verden Tigers reminded the rest of the county what boys team has been the most dominant in recent history of the Grady County Tournament by beating the Minco Bulldogs on Saturday night.
The Tigers beat Minco 51-33 to dethrone the defending champs on their home floor, giving the Verden boys their fifth tournament title in the past seven years.
Verden won the Grady County Tournament four times in a row from 2007 through 2010, and made the finals in 2011.
There was little drama in the championship game, with Verden leading by double-digits for a majority of the contest. Tigers head coach Cody McHugh said that may have been a result of the tough game Minco had played just one night earlier against Amber-Pocasset.
“It’s kind of what we were hoping for,” McHugh said. “They played one heck of a game [Friday night]. Very emotional, very physical; a taxing late game. And we were kind of hoping that maybe that had gassed out a little bit.”
Verden led by 10 points at halftime and 19 at the end of the third quarter, allowing the Tigers to cruise to the victory in the fourth quarter, when guard Trystan Morgan made sure the Bulldogs didn’t make a comeback.
Morgan scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and Verden had four players in double figures.
David and Dusty Keil scored 14 points each, and Tyler Amos scored 12.
Asher Baade was Minco’s leading scorer with 10 points. Blake Schneberger had led his team in the first two rounds with big games, but Verden’s defensive focus held him to only four in the game that mattered most.
“[Head coach Robert] Duvall gets him into his comfort zones and gets him the ball where he needs it, so we just put our strongest defender on him and said ‘it’s your job to shut him down,’” McHugh said. “We didn’t hear his name too much tonight, and that’s a good thing for us.”
Verden is now 13-8 this season, and will host Cement at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Minco will play at Alex at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Pick up Tuesday's Express-Star for more coverage of the Grady County Tournament.