AUBREY - New classification? New district?
In its first year as a Class 3A school and entrenched in a district with three teams that have, at one time, been ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, Aubrey firmly established itself as a contender on Tuesday with a 52-45 win over Argyle.
The win gives the Lady Chaparrals a season sweep of the Lady Eagles and solidifies them as District 9-3A's second-place team behind Sanger.
"It's very big for us," Aubrey head coach Bobby Stastny said of the win. "We're in second place by ourselves now. It's a big deal for us in our first year in 3A. Argyle is a great program that is good year in and year out. Now we just have to take care of business and win the games that we're supposed to win."
Entering the season, Aubrey (17-9, 5-1) had set its sights on simply earning a playoff spot - not necessarily a district title. Yet after the first half of district play and two wins over the Lady Eagles, who were ranked No. 24 in the TABC poll until this week, the No. 20 Lady Chaparrals now find themselves in the hunt.
Argyle (16-10, 3-3), meanwhile, looks like it's in trouble.
Fresh off a loss to Sanger in which they shot just 19.6 percent from the floor, the Lady Eagles didn't hit their first field goal until nearly six minutes after the opening tip-off and made just two of their first 17 shots. That helped Aubrey build a five-point lead late in the second quarter and seemed to give them control of the game.
The Lady Eagles, though, hung tough - for a while at least.
Aided by nine second-quarter turnovers by Aubrey including five straight to end the half, Argyle pulled within two points by halftime and, by the end of the third quarter, had built a 33-31 lead thanks to its dominance on the offensive boards and a wealth of second-chance opportunities that finally began to fall.
"They came out ready to play," Stastny said. "They had a bad game shooting last week [against Sanger], and they were able to come out and recover and have a good run there."
When it counted, though, Aubrey had a better run.
Trailing entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Chaparrals surged on a 9-0 run to turn the deficit into a seven-point lead as the clock ticked away. Aubrey went on to lead by as many as nine and outscored Argyle 21-12 in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Prestley Stastny led Aubrey with a game-high 21 points while Schyler Nelson added 12 points and Kenzie Taylor had 10 points. The trio of double-digit scorers combined to hit seven 3-pointers on the night.
While the Lady Chaparrals are on the rise, the Lady Eagles are scrambling for a way to get back on track.
"We had a few injuries early on the in the season and, now that everyone is starting to come back healthy, it just seems like we haven't found that groove yet," Argyle assistant coach Blake Bell said. "We just don't have the same chemistry."
Madison Eschle led the Lady Eagles with 14 points - most of which came in the final quarter after she scored eight straight points to keep the game from getting out of hand in the waning moments. Barbara-Scott Kolb had 10 points for Argyle in the loss.
Argyle 78, Aubrey 38
If Argyle's success has bred any sort of overconference, it certainly isn't showing.
Led by a strong defensive performance and a quick transition game, the Eagles overwhelmed a struggling Aubrey squad and stayed unbeaten in District 9-3A play.
Argyle (24-3, 4-0) has proven to be one of the state's elite teams this year and is currently ranked No. 2 in Class 3A by the TABC. Still, the Eagles and head coach John King are aware of the target their reputation has placed on their back after fending off a scrappy Sanger team last week in the fourth quarter in a 69-51 win.
Against the Chaparrals (2-23, 0-4), though, pulling away didn't take nearly as much time.
Aubrey has struggled so far this season and, despite putting together what head coach Jackie Crisp called his team's best performance of the season, didn't do much to pull itself out of its funk. After hanging with the Eagles early in the first quarter and pulling to within one point after falling behind 8-2, the Chaparrals found themselves down by nine at the end of the first quarter.
Things only got worse from there, as Argyle scored 20 straight points in the second quarter to take a commanding 45-21 lead at halftime.
From that point on, the game was in little doubt.
The win keeps Argyle on a collision course with the 9-3A title with just six games remaining on the schedule. Although the rest of the district seems, for the most part, hopelessly outmatched, King said the key to the Eagles' success is avoiding letdowns against teams that - by all accounts - they should beat.
"Our kids are all returners from last year," King said. "They're mature and they've been around the program for a bit and understand that, in order for us to achieve our goals this year, they've got to stay focused every week."
Despite the 40-point loss, Crisp said that he hopes the positives he saw early on will carry over to the remaining games on Aubrey's schedule.
"We're going to build off of this," he said. "If we played like this earlier in the season, we'd have a few more wins. If we play like this for the last six games - we'll see what happens."
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Aubrey 52, Argyle 45
Argyle (16-10, 3-3) - Madison Eschle 14, Barbara-Scott Kolb 10, Kate Walker 8, Allea Harris 4, Michelle Kuckelman4, Morgan McInaney 3, Miranda Laurion 2.
Aubrey (17-9, 5-1) - Prestley Stastny 21, Schyler Nelson 12, Kenzie Taylor 10, Sidney Shelstead 5, Kaitlin Brown 4.
Argyle 78, Aubrey 38
Argyle (24-3, 4-0) - Clarke Overlander 16, Andrew Resch 13, Patrick Resch 12, Taylor Ishee 12, Justin Hommel 10, Dough Fryer 4, Zach Dickerson 4, Connor York 3, Wes King 2, Mason Mead 2.
Aubrey (2-23, 0-4) - James Reeves 12, Nick Shovlin 11, Matt Anson 9, Albert Silva 4, Curtis Knicker 2.