Leasure scores 14, Cumberland 12, but Valley also hit with 4th-quarter tech
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- The Argos boys basketball team found out against Tippecanoe Valley Tuesday that it is a pretty good team with Michael Richard in the lineup, and they are a pretty good team without him too.
Richard scored a game-high 22 points, Dylan Kindig added 12, and Caden Nifong added 10 for the Dragons in a 54-48 road win Tuesday.
Paul Leasure scored 14, and Nolan Cumberland added 12 for Valley in the loss.
Argos improved to 1-1. Valley dropped to 0-1.
The key moment came with Argos leading 42-38 with 3:58 left. Richard was called for an offensive foul, his fifth. While Argos replaced the disqualified Richard, Valley also made substitutions.
In the confusion, Valley somehow had six players on the floor, and officials called Valley for a technical foul when the ball was inbounded. Valley coach Chad Patrick argued that the officials should have held the game up and waited until the extra player left the court.
Afterwards, Patrick said Valley’s problems were much bigger than how many players they had on the court.
“We can make all the excuses we want, but we just played bad basketball tonight,” Patrick said. “We took very poor shots. Our defense wasn’t very good. And the three things of a game you have to win – you have got to shoot more free throws, you have got to have got to win the rebounding war and turnovers – you’ve got to win two of those three, and we got crushed on the boards 29-17. We got crushed on free throws. They made 14, and we only shot eight. … You can’t do that and win a basketball game, especially against a very
good team like Argos.”
Nifong hit the two technical free throws – he made eight of 10 free throws in the final 3:58 – to push the lead back to six.
Leasure would hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 44-41, but Argos answered when Teddy Redinger got trapped in the short corner along the baseline but somehow found Kindig for a layup. Two more Nifong free throws got the lead to seven.
Argos outscored Valley 12-10 after Richard fouled out with J.J. Morris, Jake Stults and Nifong handling the ball while Richard could only watch.
“When he fouled out, that was a tough call, and that was a tough scenario for us,” Argos coach Gordon Mosson said. “He’s our primary ballhandler, and we didn’t respond very well bringing the ball up the court. But then again, we’ve got kids doing things uncharacteristic. But we did enough. We bent, bent, bent but didn’t break.”
Valley led 33-29 with 3:39 left in the third quarter after Leasure drained a 23-foot bomb for 3. Mosson called a 30-second timeout at that point, and Argos responded with a 13-2 run covering the third and fourth quarters. They held Valley to one field goal in seven minutes.
“I did tell them after the game I thought that it was big that they didn’t keep the lead very long,” Mosson said. “They got it, and I don’t know if it was a possession or two, and then I think we got it right back. … That kept us engaged. That kept us playing with some confidence.”
Kindig, who stands 6-4, hit on a reverse layup with 2:24 left in the third quarter to put Argos ahead for good at 34-33, and he had two more buckets in the post in the fourth quarter, even though he was giving up three inches in height in his matchup with Perkins.
“I thought there were times tonight where he played really well,” Mosson said. “He was more patient. He didn’t hurry. When he doesn’t hurry, he’s got moves. He’s got a nice body. He’s got great hands. It’s big. We’re trying to have a balanced attack. We’re trying to get more scoring on the inside this year because I think we have some players that can do that.”
Argos jumped out to a 10-0 lead and still led 26-22 at halftime after Richard took a skip pass from Nifong and buried a 3 from in front of the Valley bench just before halftime. Valley took their first lead at 30-29 when Brendyn Stump hit three free throws with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Leisure’s trey added to the lead.
Valley tried a man-to-man, a 2-3 zone and a 1-3-1 zone with Perkins on top that lasted exactly one possession. When Valley played man to man, Leasure had the primary responsibility on Richard, but little worked.
“I was really disappointed in some other kids that tried to guard him,” Patrick said. “I thought we had a couple other kids that could be lockdown defenders, you know. And we’ve got to have other kids step up and be able to shut a player like him down or at least hold him down. It was tough defense for Paul, but we didn’t have anybody else step up , and our help-side was really, really, really bad.”
Argos 54, Valley 48
ARGOS (54) (1-1)
Michael Richard 7 4-4 22, Jake Stults 1 0-1 2, Caden Nifong 1 8-10 10, J.J. Morris 3 2-3 8, Dylan Kindig 6 0-0 12, Kayden Brady 0 0-2 0, Teddy Redinger 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 18 14-20 54
VALLEY (48) (0-1)
Braden Shepherd 0 4-4 4, Paul Leasure 5 0-0 14, D.J. Estep 2 0-0 4, Nolan Cumberland 4 2-2 12, Dawson Perkins 4 0-0 8, Rex Kirchenstien 0 0-0 0, Brendyn Stump 1 3-3 6
TEAM: 16 9-9 48
Three-point field goals:
Argos 4 (Richard 4),
Valley 7 (Leasure 4, Cumberland 2, Stump)
Total fouls: Argos 12, Valley 19
Fouled out: Richard (ARG), 3:58, fourth
Technical foul: Valley bench, 3:58, fourth
Score by quarters
Argos 12 14 12 16 – 54
Valley 6 16 13 13 – 48