By JASON EPP
On a below par shooting night, the Turpin Cardinals relied on stellar defense to win 37-26 over the Seiling Wildcats and secure a regional championship.
Turpin jumped all over Seiling, scoring the first thirteen point of the game. Seiling’s first point came on a free throw with three seconds left in the first quarter, and were limited to only three attempts from the field in the first quarter.
Turpin opened the second quarter by pushing the lead to 17-1. Seiling finally hit their first field goal of the game with 4:40 left in the second quarter, and it started a 12-0 run for the Wildcats that made the score 17-13 at the half.
“Our defense was great,” said Cardinals coach Gary Wallace. “It helped us get baskets in transition. We had a bad four minute stretch, but we recovered.”
Turpin opened the second half with a 10-0 run that was once again fueled by their defense that forced 23 turnovers.
“We changed to a zone defense in the third and got some steals, and our quickness in our press bothered them,” said Wallace.
Turpin finished the regional tournament with only one made three-point basket, quite a change from the regular season.
“Our post play has been coming along,” said Wallace. “I’ve been pushing that all along, and it is coming together just now.”
Turpin held the ball and forced Seiling to foul in the fourth. The Cardinals only made 7 of 13 free throws in the fourth, but their defense continued to limit the Wildcats scoring opportunities to squelch any hopes of a comeback.
Braydon Robinson led the Cardinals with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Konner and Keifer Hood each added 7, and Cale Longhofer 5.
Turpin improves their overall record to 20-5, and will face No.1 Garber, Friday at 8 p.m. at the Chisholm Trail Expo in Enid. The winner advances to the state championship, and the loser can still make it by winning the consolation final Saturday.