COMMERCE — Argyle head girls basketball coach Skip Townsend asked his team for a quick start against Canton on Friday night.
He certainly got what he was looking for.
Argyle’s quick start ended Canton’s season and cemented a matchup against one of the Lady Eagles’ biggest rivals for a trip to the Class 3A state tournament.
Argyle quickly overwhelmed Canton and defeated the Eaglettes 52-26 in the Class 3A Region II semifinals on Friday night at Texas A&M-Commerce.
For the fourth straight playoff game, Argyle won comfortably by double-digits, largely because of the team’s torrid start to the game.
“We told our kids that we had to get a good start tonight,” Townsend said. “This team [Canton] is notorious for holding the ball, getting ahead and holding the ball, so we knew we had to come out and get a good start on offense and play shutdown defense, and I thought we did both very well.”
Argyle freshman Vivian Gray led all scorers with 19 points, while junior Delaney Sain added 12 points in the victory for the Lady Eagles, which remains undefeated against Class 3A teams this season.
The Lady Eagles are one of eight teams remaining in the 3A girls basketball playoffs. Argyle (34-1) faces Celina in the Region II final at 1 p.m. today at TAMU-Commerce. Argyle finished first in District 10-3A, while Celina finished second.
The winner advances to the 3A state tournament next week in Austin.
Sain and Gray did most of their damage early and quickly had the Argyle fans who made the trip to East Texas dreaming of a matchup against Celina in the regional final.
The Argyle duo were able to convert on close shots near the basket in the first quarter. The Lady Eagles knocked down seven of 10 shots in the opening quarter, as Sain and Gray combined for 11 points.
“We had to get out and score, because if you get behind, they’re going to pull it out and play a slower game,” Argyle junior guard Jesse Sheridan said. “So we knew from the get-go that we had to get out there and knock down our shots to get a lead on them.”
On the other end of the court, Canton joined the many teams this season that have struggled against Argyle’s defense. The Eaglettes only knocked down two field goals in the first half and managed to score only a free throw in the second quarter as Argyle took a commanding 28-7 lead into the locker room.
“We’re pretty confident in our defense,” Sain said. “I think our defense has gotten a lot better, and honestly if we play great defense, we’re going to shut any team down.”
Argyle’s starters got plenty of rest in the second half for today’s contest against Celina.
Argyle finished ranked second in 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, while Celina was fourth. Argyle won both contests between the 10-3A teams this season.
Townsend didn’t put too much stock into the raised difficulty of beating a team three times in a season.
“This is going to the state tournament,” Townsend said. “All that [previous history] goes out the window. It’s going to be us and Celina [today], and both teams are going to play their best. I’m sure.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.