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Dragons win thriller at Triton

DSC_0860BOURBON — In a game where a three-point lead at times seemed almost insurmountable, it was only fitting that a buzzer-beating shot would be the difference as Argos defeated Triton for their second straight sectional title 28-26.

Argos sophomore Michael Richard was the hero as he pulled up on the baseline with .8 seconds remaining and buried the game-winning shot.
“For him to have the presence of mind in that situation to stay focused on what needed to be done, handle the ball, get himself in a good position to shoot, that says a lot about him as a basketball player,” said Argos coach Gordon Mosson. “He’s come on here as of late and it couldn’t have happened to a better kid. He’s worked really hard.”
Triton tied the game with just :27 seconds on the clock setting up Richard’s heroics but it didn’t go exactly to plan for the Dragons.
“Jason changed his defense at the end and he wanted to make sure that (Sam) Manikowski wasn’t going to beat him,” said Mosson. “We’d run that situation in practice a number of times where we had a particular play to use in that situation and they took that away and Michael was able to bury that shot.”
Points were at a premium in the game as both sides had all the answers for the other’s offensive schemes. Both team’s weapons were held well under their normal output as neither the Trojans or the Dragons had a player in double figures scoring on the night.
Instead both team’s scorers were forced to find ways to help their team. While the Trojans won the turnover battle 16-6, Argos outrebounded Triton by 10.
“It was a defensive struggle and offensively we just couldn’t hit anything,” said Triton coach Jason Groves. “We were 16 percent for the game and one for nine from three and that’s something that we’ve been doing really well is shooting the ball. It’s a credit to their defense but we had some looks, we just didn’t hit them.”
With both defenses in a death grip those missed shots would be the difference.
“I thought our defense was outstanding for the whole game and really outstanding at the end of the game,” said Mosson. “We stopped them. They didn’t know what they wanted to do and they had to call a time out. We did that maybe three times. We changed our defense maybe one time. That’s how we won the game as much as anything was those stops on the defensive end.”
“You can’t fault our effort. Our guys fought and battled and scrapped and put themselves in a position to be there,” said Groves. “If we have a couple of shots go down and a couple of things go our way it could have been different but things just didn’t work out that way.”
“I’m proud of our seniors,” he said. “They’ve come a long way. They’ve re-set the standard of how you go about business, how you prepare and hopefully these younger guys will take it to heart and keep working. Our seniors are going to be missed.”
Triton ends their season at 14-11. Argos (16-9) moves on to the Triton Regional to face Caston (13-11) next week.
•ARGOS 28, TRITON 26
At Triton
Triton 4 7 14 26
Argos 4 11 19 28
Argos (28) — Manikowski 4 1-2 9, Morris 0 0-0 0, Stults 0 0-0 0, Richard 2 1-2 6, Redinger 2 0-1 4, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Nifong 2 0-0 4, O’Dell 1 0-0 3. Totals 12 2-5 28.
Triton (26) — Oviedo 2 4-4 9, Bules 0 0-0 0, Gardner 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Yates 2 3-4 7, Amsden 0 2-4 2, Heckaman 0 6-8 6, Westafer 0 0-0 0. Totals 4 17-22 26.