In their run to the top seed out of District 9-3A and through two games of the playoffs, the Decatur Lady Eagles found a way to get to the basket and knock down big shots.
Tuesday those opportunities were too few and far between against the Argyle Lady Eagles. Second-ranked Argyle held Decatur to just six field goals in a 54-30 victory in the Class 3A Region II quarterfinal at Chisholm Trail High School in Saginaw.
“Their length is incredible,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner. “They are too good inside. We couldn’t score. They are good defensively.”
The loss ends Decatur’s season at 25-6.
“I’m proud of them. It’s a heck of a season,” Garner said.
The loss was the final game for Decatur’s four seniors: Murphy Graham, Haley Dennard, Katie Isham and Traci Hale. Isham finished with nine points to lead the Lady Eagles.
“This season, we came in and surprised people with our success early,” Isham said. “That carried us through district and gave us the will to fight those last few district games and the playoffs.”
Decatur managed a free throw from Shelby Drews and a shot from Haley Dennard in the first quarter against the stingy Argyle defense.
“Their posts kept us from getting the usual shots in the post that we usually have,” Isham said.
Defensively, Decatur couldn’t stop the Argyle dribble penetration and the work around the basket by Delany Sain, who had seven of her 12 points in the opening frame. Argyle opened the game on a 16-3 run.
“We didn’t execute defensively early,” Garner said.
Argyle led by as many as 15 in the first half, 28-13. Isham’s 15-foot jumper in the final minute of the first half brought Decatur within 13, 28-15.
Argyle tightened its defense even more in the third quarter, holding Decatur to just one point – an Isham free throw – in the frame. Argyle took a 20-point lead, 36-16, on a Vivian Gray free throw with 45 seconds left in the fourth.
Gray led all scorers with 18 points. She hit seven of her 10 free-throw attempts. As a team, Argyle was 19-for-29 from the line. Jesse Sheridan hit six free throws in the fourth quarter as part of her 10 points.
Graham hit a 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining for Decatur’s lone field goal in the second half. Graham finished with eight. She and the other Decatur seniors took a seat for the final two minutes.