HAMLET — Argos’ girls basketball team opened pregame warm-ups and broke the pre-tipoff huddle with one word — intensity.
The Dragons promptly fired off a 25-4 game-opening spree and led by double figures the rest of the way in a 60-36 Class A Sectional 51 first-round win over South Central at Oregon-Davis Tuesday.
Argos returns to The Den Friday for a semifinal tussle with defending champion Triton at 6:30 p.m. First-round play continues tonight with host OD taking on Culver Community at 6:30 p.m. with Marquette and Westville to follow.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve evaluated how we come out at the start of games,” Argos head coach Nick Medich, whose team entered Tuesday 1-4 in its previous five games, said. “We’ve not been coming out aggressive. We’ve not been pushing the ball. We wanted to have a lot of intensity, especially on the defensive end.
“I’m a nervous wreck,” he added. “I was up all night and sick all day worrying about this game. Anyone can win this sectional. We’ll see what happens when we face Triton Friday.”
Buoyed by its full-court zone press, Argos converted 15 first-half South Central turnovers into 16 points and enjoyed a 29-10 advantage at the intermission.
“We really wanted to get turnovers and hopefully some layups out of our full-court press,” Medich said. “At moments it worked well. With our full-court press we’re not going to get a ton of steals, but we can get in the way and cause problems. I thought it worked well in the first half. We got the ball down the floor and our post players played well.”
Offensively, the Dragons landed four players in double figures, led by 13 points and six rebounds from junior Karlee VanDerWeele. Her 3-pointer from the right corner off an inbound pass accelerated an 11-0 run after South Central trimmed its deficit to 11 points, and gave the Dragons a 39-22 lead with 40 seconds left in the third frame.
“The third quarter we came out a little slow, and I had to call timeout to give them a talking to,” Medich said. “Karlee gave us a big spark. She was real solid; she made some big buckets. She didn’t shoot the best percentage in the first half, but she picked it up in the second half scoring, rebounding, and with defense.”
Junior point guard Jami Patterson, junior forward Kayla Prochno, and 6-foot-1 sophomore reserve Amanda Middleton each added 12 points for the balanced Dragons. Prochno, who yanked down a team-best seven caroms, kicked off Argos’ 11-0 second-half run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, while Middleton gave the Dragons extended minutes with starting forward Libby Moyer battling foul trouble most of the night.
“It’s nice for Amanda to get into double digits,” Medich said. “She’s a JV player that we brought up for her height. People think twice about going into the lane against her; she’s 6-1 and looks about 9 ½ feet tall when her arms are up.”
Also for the Dragons, sophomore guard Shelby Sanders handed out six assists, including a dish to Middleton for a buzzer-beating layup at the conclusion of the third frame for a 41-22 Argos lead.
Sophomore forward Jill Rosenbaum scored a game-high 16 points and hauled in 10 rebounds to lead South Central. Sydney Satoski, who accumulated 11 boards, chipped in 12 points, highlighted by a conventional 3-point play to pull the Satellites to 33-22 with 2:34 to go in the third stanza.
• CLASS A SECTIONAL 51 FIRST ROUND
ARGOS 60, SOUTH CENTRAL 36
Score by quarters
South Central: 2 10 22 36
Argos: 18 29 41 60
SOUTH CENTRAL (36): Cherie Ann Salisbury 0 0-0 0, Kayla Pritchard 0 0-0 0, Rylee Nunemaker 3 0-0 6, Savannah Little 0 0-0 0, Dallas Ludlow 0 0-0 0, Taylor Johnson 0 2-2 2, Madison Tomblin 0 0-0 0, Hannah Stolte 0 0-0 0, Sydney Payne 0 0-0 0, Sydney Satoski 3 6-7 12, Katelyn Tucker 0 0-0 0, Jill Rosenbaum 4 8-10 16. TOTALS: 10 16-19 36.
ARGOS (60): Jami Patterson 3 5-7 12, Katie Williams 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Kring 0 0-0 0, Karlee VanDerWeele 4 3-4 13, Allison Flower 0 0-0 0, Shelby Sanders 1 0-1 3, Carly McCay 1 2-2 4, Amanda Middleton 5 2-3 12, Libby Moyer 1 0-0 2, Kayla Prochno 4 4-8 12, Dani Fishburn 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 20 16-25 60.
3-point goals: South Central none, Argos 4 (VanDerWeele 2, Patterson, Sanders); Turnovers: South Central 21, Argos 13; Rebounds: South Central 35 (Satoski 11), Argos 36 (Prochno 7); Assists: South Central 3, Argos 12 (Sanders 6); Steals: South Central 3, Argos 4 (Moyer 2); Fouls (fouled out): South Central 23 (none), Argos 19 (Moyer).
Records: South Central 8-13 (final), Argos 13-8.