LAKEVILLE — Last Friday, Argos forward Ben Carter’s 21 points helped power the Dragons to their first win of the season. Following that performance, LaVille made him a focal point in the team’s home opener Tuesday night.
The Lancers double teamed Carter in the paint to hold the 6-6 junior scoreless, and the home team claimed a 47-32 win over visiting Argos in LaVille’s home opener at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
It was a strategy the Lancers employed to good effect against 6-11 Culver Military center Bradley Fisher last Friday as they held him to eight points, and it paid dividends again Tuesday as Carter took just three shots in the loss.
“We were going to try to play the same defense on Carter that we were trying to play on (Bradley) Fisher against CMA. So every time he was going to get it we were going to double down on him,” said LaVille head coach Michael Edison.
“Some of it was LaVille, but I thought our offense was a little bit stagnant; we stood around a little bit too much,” said Argos coach Doug Snyder. “Ben did have a couple looks in there, but I thought we should’ve gotten the ball into him a little more. Obviously they played behind him and something they did differently than Winamac, they doubled hard. That’s just something we’re going to have to do a better job of. And even when Ben got the ball in those situations, sometimes he made some good choices by kicking the ball back out. They bodied him pretty good.”
LaVille took the lead less than three minutes in on consecutive 3s by Andrew Hostetler, and the Lancers never trailed again.
But after falling behind by eight in the second quarter, the Dragons closed out the second frame with a 5-0 mini-run to cut their deficit to 21-18 at halftime.
But with Carter struggling to find good looks inside, Argos shooters went cold in the second half following their 8-for-15 field conversion in the first half, and LaVille stretched the lead to double figures, 31-21, on a Jeff Haygood second chance bucket at the 2:05 stop of the third as Argos point man Taylor Ogle briefly sat out after taking a spill midway through the period. The Dragons battled down to the wire but never pulled within single digits the rest of the way.
“I thought we had some good looks when we did have it, but… 19 turnovers for the game, you can’t do that. I don’t care who you’re playing, but especially against a team as good as LaVille,” said Snyder. “That’s just something that we need to do a better job of.
“We need to hit some shots. We’ve got some guys that can hit some shots, but we’ve had a couple games in our first couple games with this game and Bremen where we’ve gone kind of cold. I don’t want them to rely on the 3. Only seven free throws, we need to attack the basket and get the ball inside a little bit more.”
While Argos scuffled to 4-for-17 shooting from beyond the arch, LaVille shooters knocked down six treys led by Hostetler’s four for a co-game high 16 points. Lancers point guard Blake Berger finished with 11 points as the only other LaVille player in double figures, and he dished out a game-best five assists as the Lancers moved to 3-0.
“Blake did some good things tonight. Andrew had some good shots,” said Edison. “Nick Amor’s always going to give 100 percent. I almost get tackled sometimes when he comes in because he just hustles on and hustles off the court. Those are things that I like to see. There are three guys that really helped contribute.”
The Lancers also saw solid play from their bench, including by Cam Gurtner — who knocked down a 3 off the top of the key with one second remaining in the third quarter to push LaVille’s lead to 37-24 headed into the final frame — as well as by Alec Baker and Landon Manuel.
Argos was paced by Max Bailey’s 16 as the scrappy 5-11 junior battled in the post to complement a perimeter game that saw him knock down three 3s.
“He does a good job playing the post and playing the perimeter for us,” said Snyder. “Shot-wise he did a good job shooting the basket, which we didn’t have from a lot of kids tonight. Very versatile for us; he can do a lot of things inside and out. I was very pleased, I thought he made some good cuts back door.”
Argos slips to 1-3 and will travel to Jimtown Friday.
“I felt very good about our kids not giving up tonight. We could’ve really folded up, and I know it ended up 15, but I thought we kept battling and diving on the floor… That’s the thing I told the kids I was very pleased about. I thought they played an entire basketball game,” Snyder said.
“Last year we won our games at home. We need to win on the road. We have tonight, we have Saturday, we travel to Pioneer the next weekend. That’s kind of our goal right now is we need to find a way to win a road game.”
LaVille remains unbeaten at 3-0 meanwhile and will face its toughest challenge yet on the road at South Bend Washington next Tuesday.
“I know we need to get better, a lot better. We play Washington coming up, and their defense… is really stifling,” Edison said. “They are one of the best in the area — just their fullcourt pressure, getting it going. They have some athletes, they have some guys that can play.”
• LaVILLE 47, ARGOS 32
Score by quarters
Argos: 5 18 24 32
LaVille: 10 21 37 47
ARGOS (32): Max Bailey 16, Alex Blum 0, Ben Carter 0, Dominic Cataldo 2, Casey Johnson 7, Taylor Ogle 2, Ricky Rice 3, Derek Smith 0, Brian Snyder 2; Totals: 12 4-7 32.
LaVILLE (47): Nick Amor 6, Alec Baker 2, Blake Berger 11, Ryan Bettcher 2, Isaac Eash 0, Cam Gurtner 3, Jeff Haygood 4, Andrew Hostetler 16, Zach Hostetler 0, Kyle Kopetski 0, Landon Manuel 3, Alex Steinke 0; Totals: 15 9-12 47.
3-pointers: Argos 4 (Bailey 3, Johnson 1), LaVille 6 (Hostetler 4, Berger 1, Gurtner 1); Rebounds: Argos 20 (Ogle 6), LaVille 25 (Amor 6); Turnovers: Argos 19, LaVille 14; Steals: Argos 10 (Ogle 3), LaVille 10 (Amor 2, Haygood 2); Assists: Argos 6 (Ogle 2, Cataldo 2), LaVille 12 (Berger 5); Fouls (fouled out): Argos 13 (none), LaVille 11 (Baker).
Records: LaVille 3-0, Argos 1-3.
JV score: LaVille 29 (Eash 13, Steinke 12), Argos 26 (Taylor O’Dell 13).