Decatur outlasts Argyle in thriller

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, January 18, 2019.
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The clipboard was supposed to be indestructible.

At least, that’s what Decatur coach Drew Coffman thought when he snapped it over his knee Friday night, sending it shattering into several pieces on the court. With 2.6 seconds left and Decatur leading rival Argyle 46-44, the closest official wheeled around and gave Coffman a technical.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

Argyle was headed to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game.

“The guy who sold me that board told me it was unbreakable — that there was no way it would break,” Coffman said. “Well, I proved that theory wrong.”

Argyle went on to split the technical free throws, and with 2.6 seconds remaining, inbounded the ball from midcourt trailing 46-45. But Decatur’s defense clamped down, not allowing Argyle to get a shot off.

After a wild final 2.6 seconds that took over five minutes, Decatur escaped with a 46-45 victory.

“I told [the team] sometimes I have to save them and sometimes they have to save me,” Coffman said. “They saved me tonight, which is what a team is all about. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a month or maybe the rest of my life if that had ended differently.”

Coffman was upset over an official blowing what looked like the final play dead. Instead of Decatur getting a steal to win the game, the official ruled the game clock operator inadvertently started the clock without anyone touching the ball.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“I thought it was a bad call, obviously, with my reaction,” Coffman said. “The board landed on the floor when it broke, so the official never saw what happened, he just saw the board on the floor. So, I got the technical. It is what it is. I’ve got to handle myself a little better.”

Decatur trailed 26-21 at halftime but quickly regrouped.

Behind a suffocating press, Decatur outscored Argyle 15-6 in the third quarter, forcing four turnovers. Grayson Harris led the charge with five points in the frame, and was one of four Decatur players to finish with eight points.

“They struggled with our pressure for a little bit there and I think we were able to rotate in some new guys,” said Decatur senior Wilson Hicks. “We were able to turn the ball over and get transition offense off it.”

Izek Chavana, Gage Rieger and Ethan Southard all finished with eight points. Wilson Hicks and Layton Harris added six.

Rieger knocked down two clutch free throws down the stretch, giving Decatur a 46-41 lead with 43.2 seconds left.

“You’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit for their toughness and grit,” Coffman said.

Decatur improved to 25-3 overall and 2-0 in District 8-4A with the victory. It is the second time Decatur has beaten Argyle this season, with the other victory coming in the championship of the Whataburger Tournament. Both games have been decided by three points or less.

Decatur has won five straight games and will travel to Springtown Tuesday. Argyle and Decatur will meet again on Feb. 5 in Decatur.

“We knew coming in it was going to be a tough environment, and it was,” Hicks said. “This was huge for us.”


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