ARGOS — Trailing John Glenn by five at the end of the first half, Argos coach Gary Teel knew it was important for his girls to get off to a fast start in the second half.
The Lady Dragons opened the third quarter with a quick 8-0 run on a pair of triples from Shelby Sanders and Karlee VanDerWeel as well as a putback from Amanda Middleton to take the lead. Glenn responded with a 4-0 mini-run of its own to retake a tenuous 34-33 lead, but Argos rattled off an 11-4 run spanning from the 4:03 mark of the third to the 7:05 stop of the fourth, and the Class A No. 10 Dragons held off the visiting Lady Falcons down the stretch for their first win under Teel, 59-52 at home Thursday.
“Being down at halftime, 30-25 we just had to make sure we came out quick and responded well,” said Teel, who takes over for Nick Medich following a 12-year stint at Tippecanoe Valley and two-year hiatus from coaching. “We had an 8-0 run to go ahead by three. It was a quick little spurt where Shelby hit a 3 and Karlee hit a 3 and we get a two with Amanda, and we’re up by three. Which was big for us to erase that five-point deficit, and it gave the kids a lot of confidence. They rallied on the defense at that point, we stopped fouling as much and took care of the basketball.”
Key to the Argos game plan was containing Glenn’s guards on the perimeter.
Sophomore Natalie Shetler buried three triples en route to 10 points as one of three Glenn players in double figures, but Dragons senior guard Jami Patterson dogged Glenn sophomore Kyler Columbia throughout the night to hold the Falcons shooter to just three points after she burned Argos for 22 as a freshman in 2011.
“We knew that Kyler Columbia is just an excellent basketball player,” said Teel. “She scored 22 points last year against us, so we wanted to make sure that we kept her under wraps. We knew Carah (Ochs) could shoot the ball as well as Shetler. They have some good shooting from the outside so we knew we had to concentrate on that. Once we shut that down a little bit we knew that they would start going to their high post game. They really hurt us with the high-low, but we made some adjustments at halftime and I thought our kids, Kayla Prochno, Libby Moyer, inside did a nice job on that adjustment.”
With Glenn’s guards limited from the outside and with a lineup boasting a formidable front line in 6-1 forward Loren Vukovits and 6-foot fellow sophomore forward Morgan Eggleston, the Falcons did most of their scoring from the inside. Vukovits tallied a team-high 15 points, and Eggleston finished with 10 points and a pair of steals before exiting the game following a scary fall with 2:39 left to play.
“We kind of knew after a freshman season like (Columbia) had, I think everyone knew where our scoring was going to be. Fortunately we have enough scorers outside of her to where we still put up 52 points,” said second-year Glenn head coach Kyle Amor. “Our big focus coming in with the size we have — and you saw with Morgan Eggleston, Loren Vukovits — that teams are going to have to stop us inside first and then the ball will get distributed on the outside.”
Indeed, the game shaped up to be a battle between several talented bigs highlighted by 5-11 Argos senior Kayla Prochno’s double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-1 Middleton chipped in eight points and the 5-10 Libby Moyer put up five points for the Dragons frontcourt, and Argos found better scoring balance from its guards led by Patterson’s game-high 16 points and VanDerWeele’s 10 for the night.
“It was a total team effort,” said Teel. “Jami was our leading scorer, but it takes a whole team, and that’s what the kids understand. It doesn’t matter who scores all the points, it’s what we can do to help our team win, and I think those kids showed a total team effort tonight and helped us win because of that.”
Argos started the game 11-4 before an 11-2 Glenn run capped off by a Morgan Eggleston bucket from the post off an assist from Carah Ochs — who notched six assists with two steals and seven points running the point for her team — gave the Falcons their first lead of the night, 15-13 at the 6:14 stop of the second frame. The visitors extended their lead to 30-25 at the intermission, largely on the strength of their swarming pressure both in the fullcourt and high in the halfcourt, which pestered Argos into 13 first-half turnovers.
But the Dragons adjusted at the half, and the Falcons were never quite able to wear down the Argos lineup like they’d hoped.
“What I told the girls in the locker room is that teams with the experience they have — I mean, Jami Patterson’s been running their point I feel like forever — when you have that experience you know how to handle certain situations,” said Amor. “They made a couple runs, and we responded early, but they took care of the ball down the stretch when they needed to, and we might have been a little careless with the ball at times. Maybe if we calm down a little bit and take better care of the ball, we might get a better look and stop the run.”
Glenn will try to bounce back when it hosts Culver Girls Academy next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. while Argos attempts to move to 2-0 in a match-up of state-ranked Bi-County and sectional rivals versus No. 7 Triton, also at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“It was a hard-fought game by both teams. Kyle’s done a nice job with his kids. They’re a much-improved basketball team from last year as freshman to now juniors and sophomores,” said Teel. “They played really hard; they’re an aggressive team; they’re going to win a lot of games. They’ve got some good shooting from the outside. In this situation it’s too bad somebody has to lose because both teams played hard enough to win.”
• ARGOS 59, JOHN GLENN 52
Score by quarters
Glenn: 11 30 38 52
Argos: 13 25 43 59
GLENN (52): Kyler Columbia 3, Katie Dreessen 4, Morgan Eggleston 10, Carah Ochs 7, Erin Patterson 0, Natalie Shetler 10, Hannah Strange 3, Loren Vukovits 15; Totals: 17 13-21 52.
ARGOS (59): Jami Patterson 16, Kelsey Kring 4, Amanda Middleton 8, Libby Moyer 5, Kayla Prochno 11, Shelby Sanders 5, Karlee VanDerWeele 10; Totals: 20 14-20 59.
3-pointers: Argos 4 (Patterson 2, VanDerWeele, Sanders), Glenn 3 (Shetler 3); Turnovers: Argos 20, Glenn 17; Rebounds: Argos 36 (Prochno 14), Glenn 27 (Ochs 8); Assists: Argos 8 (Sanders 3, Patterson 3), Glenn 12 (Ochs 6); Steals: Argos 8 (Sanders 3), Glenn 9 (Eggleston 2, Ochs 2); Fouls (fouled out): Argos 18 (VanDerWeele), Glenn 17 (Ochs).
Records: Argos 1-0, Glenn 0-1
JV score: Glenn 34, Argos 19