Girls basketball: Townsend’s Lady Eagles climbing 3A ladder

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ARGYLE — Last weekend, the Argyle girls knocked off the two-time defending state champs, extended their winning streak to 10 and surpassed their win total from last season.

And District 10-3A play doesn’t start until next week.

Argyle won all four of its games at the Whataburger Tournament in Saginaw and defeated Abilene Wylie, the reigning Class 3A champion. The Lady Eagles have another nondistrict game Friday against Crandall before district play tips off Tuesday against Carrollton Ranchview.

In Skip Townsend’s second year as coach, Argyle (20-3) has turned into one of the state’s top 3A teams. The Lady Eagles are ranked ninth in 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

Last season, Argyle finished one game over .500 and was knocked out of the playoffs in the area round by Dallas Madison.

“I think the difference is that all of us are pulling together more,” senior guard Allea Harris said. “We’re more of a team this year. I think we all realize that we can’t be selfish.”

The Lady Eagles haven’t lost to a Class 3A team this season. Two losses came against 4A’s Aledo and Granbury, and one loss was to a team of home-schooled players. The three losses were by a combined 11 points, and Argyle hasn’t been defeated since back-to-back losses in the Brock tournament at the end of the November.

It’s a team that grew together as its coaching staff faced controversy last spring, when Townsend and his wife, assistant coach Sammye Townsend, were up for contract extensions amid anonymous surveys and allegations of locker-room videotaping.

Skip Townsend won six state titles at Brock before coming to Argyle in 2011, and said the brouhaha ended up being a positive for the team.

“It unified our girls,” he said. “Maybe it was an attack on me, but our girls looked at it like it was an attack on our program, and we responded well from that.”

Sophomore post player Delaney Sain won MVP honors at last weekend’s tournament after scoring 16 points in the win over Wylie. Harris and forward Kim Strelke were named to the all-tournament team.

Sain — who’s averaging a team-high 14.2 points per game and an impressive 62.7 shooting percentage — said Skip Townsend believes in her more than any coach she’s ever had, and that she’s grown tremendously with the help of him and her teammates.

“He made such a difference right when he came here,” Sain said. “We’ve changed so much from Day 1 when he got here to today. He believes in us so much. We’re just really glad that he’s here because he’s such a good coach.”

Based on his interactions with the team, Harris said Townsend is starting to find a bit of solace.

“He’s just more comfortable,” Harris said. “And when we’re more comfortable with him, we know what he wants and we know what he expects of us this year.”

BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is bbaby@dentonrc.com .


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