Westville edges Argos 46-44 at Triton Sectional

BOURBON — Westville’s seniors edged out Argos’ sophomores in Class A Boys Basketball Sectional 51 crunch time — barely.
Westville senior Glen Cole’s old-fashioned 3-point play with 1:50 left in the game put the Blackhawks up for good, and the Dragons missed three chances to draw even in the final 30 seconds as Westville escaped with a 46-44 opening-round win at Triton’s Trojan Trench Wednesday.
Senior guard Dan Warnke registered 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, including a transition triple to give Westville a 36-35 lead with 5:22 left in the game — the Blackhawks’ initial advantage of the night and first of seven lead changes over the next four minutes.
Westville advances to a semifinal matchup with Marquette — a 65-52 winner over South Central in Wednesday’s nightcap — Friday at Triton. The host Trojans and Culver Community tip off Friday’s action at 6:30 p.m.
“Argos is very well coached, and they had a great game plan,” Westville head coach Rob Walker said. “With their top player, (Cain) Thorn out — he torched us for 30 when we played in the regular season — and for them to play that well; what it says about their kids and coaching staff, wow.
“Dan Warnke stepped up in the second half,” he added. “Glen Cole brings so much energy. He came up huge for us.”
Trailing 46-44 and under considerable pressure, Argos used its final timeout with 33.4 seconds to play. Following the stoppage, Westville’s run-and-jump defense came after and trapped the Dragons along the timeline and Blackhawks senior Brian Popp intercepted his sixth steal of the game with 21 ticks left.
“We were looking for a couple things in that possession,” Argos head coach Doug Snyder said. “We were looking to get a cutter going to the basket or coming off a double screen for a 3. We ended up getting trapped, and everyone ran to their spot. Instead of recognizing the situation and seeing my teammate’s in trouble and going to the ball to help we went to our spots and turned it over. Even so, we still had two more opportunities. I credit them for hanging in and credit them for their effort.”
Those two more opportunities presented themselves thanks to a pair of misses on the front end of Westville bonus situations. Argos sophomore Max Bailey fired long from the deep right wing with 8 seconds to play, and then sophomore Brian Snyder’s prayer from just inside the timeline fell short at the horn.
“We’ve worked a lot on our run-and-jump defense this year,” Walker said. “Argos doesn’t have a lot of ballhandlers other than (Taylor) Ogle, and our run-and-jump was very effective when Argos was going for the last shot. We pressured the ball and Brian Popp, who’s saved three other games this year with his defense, was in the right place at the right time.”
Ogle, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard, led the Dragons with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Dominic Cataldo, another Argos sophomore guard, added eight points and three assists, and Bailey pulled down nine rebounds.
“We’re focusing on the positives tonight,” the Argos skipper said. “We all made mistakes, but we all did great things. We can enjoy the fact that we played hard and played as a team. We did a great job playing as a team.”
The Dragons, buoyed by a strong defensive effort, constructed a 14-point second-quarter lead and took a 23-13 cushion into the locker room at the halfway break.
Led by Warnke’s three third-quarter treys and the entire lineup’s dribble penetration, the Blackhawks whittled away at Argos’ advantage, taking the lead for good on Cole’s rebound basket and foul.
“Warnke had a great second half,” Snyder said. “Taylor did a great job on him, but I think he got a little tired. We asked Taylor to do a lot and he stepped up. (Westville’s) penetration hurt us in the second half.”
Also for Westville, which hit just 5 of 28 from the field in the first half, Popp pulled in nine rebounds to go with his game-high six steals.
Argos now loses seniors Zach Hartman, who scored seven points off the bench, and Justin Cunningham.
“Justin Cunningham did not play much this season, but what a great kid,” Snyder said. “He’s the kind of kid that’s instrumental to a program, because he’s reliable in coming to practice, reliable in working hard, and reliable as a good teammate. Zach Hartman did a nice job tonight. He had some big baskets for us and played as a senior should. He’s come a long way in the last year, and I was happy to see him play like a senior tonight. I appreciate what both of our seniors have done.”
Both teams played without starters, both for undisclosed reasons. Leading scorer Cain Thorn was out for Argos, while senior forward Kevin Stone-Tharp sat for Westville.
• CLASS A BOYS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL 51
At Bourbon
Score by quarters
Argos: 15 23 30 44
Westville: 6 13 26 46
ARGOS (44): Taylor Ogle 5 0-0 12, Dominic Cataldo 2 4-6 8, Zach Hartman 3 0-0 7, Brian Snyder 1 3-5 5, Derrick Jensen 0 0-0 0, Max Bailey 3 0-0 6, Casey Johnson 1 0-0 2, Ben Carter 2 0-2 4.; Totals: 17 7-13 44.
WESTVILLE (46): Christian Porter 3 0-1 6, Dan Warnke 5 6-6 19, Dylan Perney 1 0-0 2, Brian Popp 2 0-1 4, Collin Walker 0 0-0 0, Shawn Gerron 2 2-2 6, Glen Cole 1 2-3 4, Skyler Rippe 2 1-3 5; Totals: 16 11-16 46.
3-pointers: Argos 3 (Ogle 2, Hartman), Westville 3 (Warnke); Turnovers: Argos 16, Westville 9; Rebounds: Argos 40 (Bailey 9), Westville 35 (Popp 9); Assists: Argos 10 (Ogle 4), Westville 2; Steals: Argos 1, Westville 7 (Popp 6); Fouls (fouled out): Argos 12 (none), Westville 14 (none).
Records: Argos 2-19 (final), Westville 11-10.