ARGYLE — Midway through the second quarter of Friday night’s District 10-3A showdown between Argyle and Celina, the Lady Eagles looked crisp, focused and well on their way to a blowout win.
It seemed hardly fitting for a game that featured two of the top three teams in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 3A poll. Second-ranked Argyle was supposed to be facing its toughest test yet in the No. 3 Lady Bobcats.
But as quickly as Argyle jumped out to its double-digit lead, Celina came storming back to make things interesting. The result was a feverishly fast-paced fourth quarter that saw Argyle hang on for a 53-47 win.
“We played really good in the first quarter; made our shots and got them into foul trouble. But for five minutes there [in second quarter], we let their subs come in and whip our rear ends,” Argyle coach Skip Townsend said. “We knew after that it would be a battle. It got them back in, fired up their team and their fans. I’m happy for this win, though we are still learning how to win close ball games.”
Argyle (26-1, 4-0 district) hasn’t had many close calls. The Lady Eagles’ only loss was on Dec. 7 against Class 5A’s No. 4 Round Rock Cedar Ridge.
But Celina (22-5, 3-1) squelched Argyle’s bid for a blowout with an 8-3 run just before halftime to cut the deficit to six points.
Vivian Gray led Argyle with 22 points, while Delaney Sain added 13. Celina had three players in double figures, including K.J. Stastny and Kynese Davis with 13 points each and Callie Wells with 12.
Argyle led 36-29 after three quarters, but opened the fourth quarter with three straight turnovers as Celina cut the deficit to 36-33. But Olivia Gray answered for Argyle with a quick 3-pointer and Madison Ralston followed with another basket as part of a 9-3 run.
But the Lady Bobcats wouldn’t stay down and trailed by two with 1:28 left. Sain hit a short range shot with 55 seconds left to put the Lady Eagles ahead 49-43, but Celina’s Davis drilled a 3-pointer 11 seconds later to again put her team within three.
But Celina had trouble at the free-throw line, hitting only 1 of 5 in the final 23 seconds.
That was as close as Celina got as their woes from the free throw line sealed Argyle’s win.
“It all came down to free throws,” Sain said. “It was a tough game and we could have been more consistent. But I feel very confident in this team as we close out the first half of district.”
Argyle 66, Celina 44
Argyle held Celina to just two points in the third quarter and rolled to its second straight District 10-3A win.
Jonathan Davis led the Eagles (17-4, 2-1 district) with 20 points, while Chase Kammerer, J.C. Chalk and Kade Barnett all finished with nine each.
Nine players scored for the Eagles — No. 13 in Class 3A, according to the TABC — who led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we came out with great intensity, then went into a bit of a lull and lost our momentum,” Argyle head coach John King said. “But we talked a lot about reclaiming our defensive intensity and the guys turned it up there in the second half.”
Celina (5-9, 1-1) led by three after the first eight minutes and trailed by three at halftime before getting shut down in the third.
The Eagles went on a 19-0 run that bled into the fourth quarter.
Argyle 53, Celina 47
Argyle (26-1, 4-0) — Delaney Sain 13, Jesse Sheridan 4, Vivian Gray 22, Madison Ralston 9, Olivia Gray 5.
Celina (22-5, 3-1) — K.J. Stastny 13, McKale Grant 5, Callie Wells 12, Kynese Davis 13, MacKenzie Teague 2, Kris Davis 2.
Argyle 66, Celina 44
Argyle (17-4, 2-1) — Chase Kammerer 9, Jonathan Davis 20, J.C. Chalk 9, Kade Barnett 9, Jared Cole 3, Joseph Clayton 6, Colton Wilkes 4, Shayne Priddy 3, Reed Davis 3.
Celina (5-9, 1-1) — Riley Nebeker 20, Jeff Sims 16, Chance Loggins 2, Jacob Maday 3, Cooper Harris 3.