The Pilot News
Underdog Lady Dragons poised for regional upset
ARGOS - For the second year in a row and fifth time in school history, the Argos High School girls basketball team won sectionals, this time needing overtime to knock off local rival Triton, 53-49, in the sectional final last Saturday.
HS girls bball
The next challenge for the Lady Dragons is the Class 1A Regional 26 championship this weekend at Caston HS. Argos (13-12) will face No. 6 Washington Township (19-6) at 4 p.m. The early game pits No. 7 Bethany Christian (21-3) against Tri-county (14-11) at 1 p.m. In a change made just this year, the two winners Saturday will not play each other that same night, but instead, both teams will move into the semistate round the following weekend.
Based on records and rankings, Argos is a huge underdog against the Lady Senators, but that could be an advantage. The Lady Dragons should be able to take the court stress free and just play. The longer they stay in the game, the more the pressure will build for their favored opponent.
“Our record doesn’t reflect some adversity we had early in the season, but we are peaking at the right time,” said Argos head coach Scott Jennings, whose team played in a combined four overtime sessions during its threegame sectional run. “With winning comes high expectations. This team is relentless and thrives under pressure as shown in the sectional. They have a ‘never give up’ attitude and the belief they are developing in each other is putting our expectations high. We are excited about our chances on Saturday.”
Seniors Emma Dunlap (12.2 ppg), Bella Stults (9.1 pgg) and do-everything point-guard Baleigh Binkley are three of the key players for the Lady Dragons. Junior Samantha Redinger ended the regular season as the Pilot News area’s leading scorer at 14.4 ppg before going for 14, 22 and 23 during the three sectional games. Freshman Ellie Bollenbacher has played beyond her years and has been a major contributor in her role of rebounder, defender and periodic inside scorer. Morgyn Barcus is a solid reserve and Ava Stackhouse has also logged valuable minutes during the season.
The reputable John
Harrell website is predicting a 50-41 Washington Township victory, but if the Lady Dragons play tough defensively, loose and free on offense, and the Lady Senators take them lightly, an Argos upset could be in the making.
This will be the first meeting ever between Argos and Washington Township. Both have played - and defeated - Westville and West Central this season. Washington Township is located in Valparaiso. The Lady Senators defeated three ranked teams to win their sectional. Those wins - in order - were over No. 13 Demotte Christian, No. 10 Morgan Township, then No. 8 Kouts, 51-49, in the championship game.
Five-foot-four sophomore point-guard Clair Klinger (#3) averages 15.8 ppg (with a high of 26), 5.4 rebs, 4.7 assists, and 3 steals to lead Washington Twp. statistically. There have been nine games this year she has taken 10 or more 3s, making 7-of-10 in her 27-point game. Sophomore Gracie Little (#23) averages 15.1 ppg (with a high of 27), 3.5 assists and 4.1 rebs. She has taken at least three 3-pointers each game this season with a high of nine (making five in that game). Five-foot-six senior Addie Graf (#15) averages 14.5 ppg (with a high of 21), 4.8 rebs, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals. She has taken at least three 3s each game with a high of 12. The team averages 55 ppg and allows about 40. It has won nine of its last 10 games. One weak spot? The team averages 15 turnovers per game.
Who’s got next?
The pairings for the semi-state games will be randomly made and announced Sunday, Feb. 12, during an online pairings show by the IHSAA at 3 p.m. The rest of the Class 1A semi-state field that Argos hopes to be a part of will be made up of the winners from Regionals 27 and 28 being played at Wes-del. Second-ranked Tri (24-1) is among the teams playing in those regions.