When Argyle found itself trailing Sanger by 10 points with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s Class 3A Region II playoff opener, there wasn’t a hint of panic from the team.
That’s because Argyle had been here before with the Indians. In November, Sanger had the Eagles on the ropes at halftime of a nondistrict game, but faltered down the stretch and lost by six. The rematch was practically a carbon copy, with Argyle putting together a late second-half rally to stun Sanger 54-50.
Argyle (21-7) will face either Melissa or Wilmer-Hutchins in the area round. The Eagles lost to Wilmer-Hutchins in the second round last year.
The turning point for the Eagles was their 15-2 run to close out the third quarter. The surge — which included five Sanger turnovers — brought Argyle back from 10 down for a 38-35 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Jonathan Davis scored 18 points and J.C. Chalk added 16 for the Eagles, who didn’t give up the lead from there and built as much as a 10-point cushion midway through the fourth quarter.
“When we played them [Sanger] the first time this season, we didn’t have a very good first half in that game either, so we were able to reflect on that at halftime,” Argyle coach John King said. “The two games were similar to that point, and we were only down by four at half this time. So we figured we still had a chance.”
Sanger (18-14) suffered its second straight first-round playoff exit despite getting 13 points from Tanner Thomas and another 12 from Tyler Roelofs. Garrett McLeod added 11 points.
For the better part of the game, Sanger had everything working in its favor. After both teams battled to a 12-all tie through the first quarter, the Indians jumped out to a 20-16 lead at halftime and extended their advantage to 10 points with a 13-7 run to open the third quarter.
Roelofs highlighted the run when he drew a foul on a hard-nosed put back in the lane. When he missed the ensuing free throw, the senior post followed his own shot with a rebound and bucket. Thomas backed that up with another basket one possession later for the double-digit lead.
But Davis scored 12 third-quarter points for the Eagles, including seven during their 15-point run. Sanger didn’t help themselves with the aforementioned turnovers, one coming with 23.6 seconds left in the quarter that Davis converted into a buzzer-beater and three-point lead.
“It came down to the last four minutes or so of the third quarter. They [Argyle] played great defense, and we lost focus and put up too many bad shots,” Sanger coach Robert Sikora said. “No offense to Argyle, but we didn’t think of this as a potential upset win for us. We truly felt like we should win this game.”
Argyle 54, Sanger 50
Argyle (21-7) — J.C. Chalk 16, Colton Wilkes 4, Jonathan Davis 18, Joseph Clayton 1, Shayne Priddy 9, Chase Kammerer 2, Reed Davis 4.
Sanger (18-14) — Garrett McLeod 11, Wilding Smith 6, Tyler Roelofs 12, Tanner Thomas 13, Hayden Higgs 4, Joseph Clark 2, Kyle Link 2.