SANGER — As the two teams both walked across the court and in front of the scorer’s table following Tuesday night’s nondistrict game, Sanger head coach Rob Sikora stopped Argyle guard Spencer McCloud, holding up the crossing lines of players ready to shake hands.
“Way to shoot the ball, son,” Sikora said to McCloud. “Have you been shooting like that all year?”
Sikora said McCloud was modest in his response, saying he hadn’t shot the ball all year like he had Tuesday night.
McCloud was probably right.
The guard’s 27 points carried the Eagles in a 59-44 victory over Sanger at Indian Gym.
“I thought we played alright,” Sikora said. “We just didn’t make shots, and they did. That was a big part of it.”
Both teams were hot from the floor early in the game. McCloud never cooled off.
He finished the contest 11-of-15 shooting. McCloud inflicted most of his damage in the first half, going 8 of 10 from the floor and scoring 19 points.
Tyler Roelofs and Brennan Bloom each led the Indians with 11 points. Bloom started out the game hitting his first six shots, but he only had two shot attempts over the final three quarters. His only made basket during the final 24 minutes was an acrobatic layup in transition that also drew a foul with 1:52 left and the game well out of reach.
Argyle, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, is now 9-5 on the season.
Sanger dips to 6-7 on the year and 0-4 without center Wilding Smith. Smith injured his ankle last week in practice, Sikora said. Argyle was also without sophomore Nick Ralston, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained during football season.
Ralston wasn’t needed in a matchup of old District 9-3A rivals.
Sanger led 10-6 in the early going before McCloud went on a personal 9-0 run, knocking down three straight 3-pointers, yelling as he ran down the court on his last long-distance shot down the stretch.
“Luckily we were able to hit just enough shots to stay in it,” Argyle head coach John King said. “And then our shots just all started going in that second quarter.”
That second quarter is when things started to crumble for Sanger. After hitting 6 of 9 shots in the first quarter, the Indians missed eight of their 10 shots in the second, including four missed 3-pointers by Tanner Thomas. Thomas finished 1 for 10 for the game.
Conversely, the Eagles knocked down eight of their 10 shots in the quarter. By the time the two teams went into halftime, Argyle had built a 13-point lead.
“When you get down to a team that’s good like Argyle and shares the ball, it’s hard to come back,” Sikora said.
Toward the end of the contest, the game got more physical as Argyle’s gap widened and the contest had already been decided, merely awaiting the confirmation of the final buzzer.
The physicality only reaffirmed the heated nature of what naturally occurs when the two squads meet, whether it’s in district play or not.
“This is a rivalry game,” King said. “We’re not in the same district anymore, but these kids have grown up playing against each other for six years now, some of them. Emotions run high in games like this and it got a little bit out of hand toward the end, but I think it never got to the point where it was completely dirty.”
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ARGYLE 59, SANGER 44
Argyle (9-5) – Zach Dickerson 9, Spencer McCloud 27, Carson Cline 3, Shayne Priddy 5, Jonathan Davis 6, Mike Morris 9.
Sanger (6-7) – Drew Lyons 8, Tanner Thomas 3, Brennan Bloom 11, Jake Stastny 7, Tyler Roelofs 11, Brice Escobedo 2, Joe Doles 2.