{{featured_button_text}}

MOWEAQUA -- As an Argenta-Oreana shot careened off the rim and toward a Warrensburg-Latham defender, JaColby Boston shot over to the ball.

Permanently playing on fast forward, Boston was able to get a piece of the ball before it hit a Warrensburg player before going out of bounds. Argenta ball.

Boston beamed and pumped his fist like he won the game. The game was a little more than 12 minutes underway.

But that kind of energy as a whole did win Thursday's Macon County tournament semifinal game with Warrensburg as the Bombers exacted some revenge in a 48-32 victory.

"You can't go half-speed around him because he's going full speed," Argenta coach Tom Saunches said. "And it doesn't matter if we're running a drill, JV, sophomore, he's going full speed. And then he's got that angelic smile, he'll knock you down and smile at you.

"It's been a pleasure coaching him."

Boston flew around the court for 13 points and seven rebounds, two areas Argenta was balanced throughout. All five starters had at least four rebounds and Derek Jones had 14, including several manufactured from a defense on Warrensburg's Andrew Butts that was a notch above last week's effort. Butts had 12 to lead Warrensburg, but had just three in the second half. Argenta's guards reached in for steals while Jones held ground in the paint.

"We were ready," Boston said. "We underestimated them (last time). They out hustled us and outplayed us."

That energy helped overcome 22 Argenta turnovers. Saunches said it's a product of playing quick and still learning to to play together -- Boston and Pierce Bradford transferred this season.

And honestly, Saunches wasn't too concerned about turnovers.

"I'm old enough that my coaching idol is John Wooden," he said, "and he used to say my teams make more turnovers than other teams because we just push the ball so hard. So I'll use that as an excuse, how's that?"

They did enough to flip the script from a 15-point loss to Warrensburg last Friday. Cardinals coach Vic Binkley said Argenta didn't run a different offense or defense, they forced Warrensburg to play on tilt.

"Not good," Binkley said. "We knew they were going to come with a lot of energy because of last Friday, but we wanted to match it and we didn't get it done. Give Argenta all the credit because they came to play.

"We just couldn't get anything going, and maybe that's because of Argenta."

St. Teresa 52, Central A&M 47

Throughout most of the game, St. Teresa somehow held onto its lead.

Despite A&M outrebounding and putting up 24 more shots than the Bulldogs, it was St. Teresa celebrating a shot to play Argenta in today's championship game.

"We really had no business coming out with the win the way we played," St. Teresa coach Tom Noonan said.

That coupled with A&M's normally reliable outside shooters (Jameson Smith and Dillon Reed) going ice cold, and Noonan was shaking his head on how they advanced.

Isaiah Bond carried the offense in the first quarter before Beau Branyan did nearly everything in the second. But in the fourth quarter it clicked, as four different Bulldogs hit shots before a fifth, Manny Green, made 6 of 8 free throws in the last minute.

"I was pleased with our guys the last five minutes in crunch time, they responded," Noonan said. "I thought our last 10 minutes was some of our better basketball tonight. I was pleased when it got tough, we responded."

A&M did everything right except find the outside shot. Jacob Paradee and Keaton Garner forced one turnover after another to create fast break points, and freshman Connor Heaton had his biggest night yet with 29 points and 11 rebounds.

"They were giving us the high post in the first half because they were trying to get out on the shooters," Central A&M coach Rob Smith said. "And then our shooters, what I think happened was they missed the first couple and then after that it gets in your head.

"They weren't shooting their normal shot, and they were concerned with their length or whatever. I don't know what it was. We just didn't shoot the ball well."

For the Bulldogs, Bond couldn't miss. He led with 24 points, shooting 9 of 12 from the field and 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.

"I could tell when he got on the bus today he was ready to play," Noonan said. "He takes a lot of pride (in his shot), gets a lot of shots up. It's about the same release every single time."

Aren's take

Hey, I know you

It's a unique situation for Boston, who now turns around and plays his old team in St. Teresa.

He's embracing the challenge of a championship, but said tonight won't change how he plays.

"It's a good experience. I don't think too much of it. Yeah, I played with them," he said. "They still my brothers, I still talk to them every day.

"It's just business, though. Off the court, they're my buddies."

Fantastic freshman

Here's a name that coaches will have to worry about for the next four years -- Connor Heaton.

Heaton's played well, averaging double-digit points so far, but Thursday was another level. He shot 12 of 21 from the field for his 29, and it came from mid-range shots, 3-pointers, put back misses and had a fast break where he spun a defender in circles before an acrobatic layup.

Coming together

On paper, Argenta is such an interesting group.

I mean, on the court they're fun to watch too, but imagining how Boston's helpside defense to the 6-foot-7 Jones, how Bradford could help Brody Ulrey play off the ball, the Bombers were exciting because it was the unknown.

On the court, there's already flashes of brilliance. None brighter than a play where Bradford saved a loose ball by throwing the ball between his legs back up the court where Ulrey and Boston picked apart a 2-on-1 fast break for an easy score.

Saunches says he sees the chemistry building.

"It's trusting giving up the ball, when you know you can do something even though someone's in a little better spot," he said. "It takes a little trust to give that up."

Speed demons

Noonan called Central A&M the fastest team they had played yet, and Keaton Garner and Jacob Paradee had to be at the top of the list.

The senior and the freshman were a nightmare early on for the Bulldogs as they jumped passes to keep the Raiders on course. Paradee had a particularly athletic move, stealing the ball and going behind his back in one motion to keep the ball away from the defender before dishing it for a bucket.

"They both compete every night, both very athletic," Smith said. "So it's a challenge every night putting them on opposite teams."

Waiting patiently

St. Teresa's Ray Smith warmed up with the team, but there's some time before he returns to play after tearing his ACL. Noonan said he's cleared for non-contact drills, but the senior has probably three weeks before seeing action.

Get in the game with our Preps Recap

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

adow@herald-review.com|(217) 421-6978

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments