Redinger scores 15, Morris adds 12, but Dragons fall to New Prairie
Bi-County consolation: Argos at Culver, 6 p.m. Friday
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS –- It was Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Monday, and the Argos boys basketball team was determined not to let it be Flagg Day as well.
As it turned out, a 15-2 run from visiting New Prairie kept it from being any kind of celebration at all.
Grady Lapczynski hit three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points, and New Prairie rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to beat Argos 49-42 in a Bi-County Tournament quarterfinal at Phil Weybright Gymnasium Monday.
Braydon Flagg added 12 points, and Hunter Smith had 10 for the Cougars, who improved to 9-4.
The seven-point final margin equaled New Prairie’s largest lead.
Teddy Redinger, who came in averaging 3.7 points per game, scored a career-high 15 to lead Argos. J.J. Morris added 12.
Argos had their four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 8-4. They will travel to Culver for a consolation game at 6 p.m. Friday. Culver lost their quarterfinal to Bremen 37-31 on Monday.
Argos has not won the Bi-County title since 2003. Argos coach Gordon Mosson has coached the Bi-County champ 10 times, more than any other coach, but he has not won the Bi-County in his seven years at Argos.
New Prairie will travel to Bremen for their semifinal on Friday.
Redinger scored Argos’ final nine points. He hit a 3-pointer to make it 38-36, but New Prairie hit five of seven free throws to go up 43-36.
Redinger was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 30.7 seconds left and hit all three free throws to make it 43-39.
After Flagg beat the press for a right baseline layin, Redinger answered with a driving 3-point play to make it 45-42 with 11 seconds left.
But Lapczynski and Smith combined to make four of four free throws in the final 9.8 seconds to end any doubt.
“Very happy with the way he played,” Mosson said of Redinger, who also had the defensive assignment on Flagg and had to run through a maze of screens while also giving up three inches in height. “He really came to play, and he played well. I was really happy with him. He was focused on defense. … He did a good job on him and made some good choices on offense and hit some big 3s for us. Ted had an outstanding all-around game.”
Argos went on a 12-0 run covering the first and second quarters and led 15-6 at one point.
They still led 24-17 on a Michael Richard floater with 6:13 left in the third quarter.
That’s when New Prairie picked up their zone trap defense. Some combination of the 6-3 Rylan McBride, the 6-5 Flagg and the 6-5 Smith would swarm the Argos ballhandler, typically Richard or Jake Stults, as soon as they crossed halfcourt.
If the ballhandler had to pick up his dribble, the New Prairie defenders could limit the vision of the Argos ballhandler and even use the 10-second line as an extra defender.
Argos had five turnovers in the third quarter as compared to New Prairie’s one.
“They got hot,” Mosson said. “The Flagg kid stepped up and really made some nice plays and hit some nice shots. The big kid scored on us on the inside. It wasn’t because of lack of effort. They just executed well and shot well.”
New Prairie coach Mike Bauer noticed a difference in his team’s intensity level.
“Our defensive energy stepped up, and our rebounding got better,” Bauer said. “In the first half, it was not a good rebounding half for us. We let Argos get too many second chances and just looked a little flat. We got a little re-energized at halftime and came out and had fun and were flying around. Usually when we do that, good things happen for us.”
Meanwhile, Flagg, a sweet-shooting lefty who scored 33 points in a game earlier this season and who has verbally committed to Olivet Nazarene University, made an impact.
He hit a 3-pointer from the left corner that tied the game 24-24 and another runner in transition that gave the Cougars a 26-24 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
A Lapczynski free throw made it 27-24. J.J. Morris hit two free throws for Argos to make it 27-26.
But then Flagg hit another 3, and Smith scored on a post banker to cap the run and put New Prairie up by six.
“If they’re not tall and lanky, they’re quick,” Mosson said of New Prairie. “So they have a combination of length and quickness. Part of it was our undoing, not getting into our offense when we needed to.”
Down 34-30 after three quarters, Morris hit a free throw, and Stults scored on a putback in traffic to get Argos within 34-33. But a McBride post turnaround and a banker from 6-7 big man Mike Ekovich helped New Prairie push the lead back to five.
Then Redinger nearly came to the rescue.
New Prairie 49, Argos 42
NEW PRAIRIE (49) (9-4)
Grady Lapczynski 4 3-5 14, Rylan McBride 3 3-4 9, Braydon Flagg 5 0-1 12, Hunter Smith 3 4-4 10, Jacob Meyers 1 0-1 2, Noah Brettin 0 0-0 0, Kole Staley 0 0-0 0, Mike Ekovich 1 0-0 2
TEAM: 17 10-15 49
ARGOS (42) (8-4)
Michael Richard 1 0-0 2, Jake Stults 3 1-2 7, J.J. Morris 4 3-4 12, Teddy Redinger 4 4-4 15, Dylan Kindig 1 2-3 4, Caden Nifong 1 0-0 2, Kayden Brady 0 0-0 0, Sean Richard 0 0-0 0, Zak Heiman 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 14 10-13 42
Three-point field goals:
New Prairie 5 (Lapczynski 3, Flagg 2),
Argos 4 (Redinger 3, Morris)
Total fouls: New Prairie 18, Argos 16
Fouled out: Brettin (NP), :11.0, fourth; M. Richard (ARG), :9.8, fourth
Turnovers: New Prairie 7, Argos 16
Score by quarters
New Prairie 6 11 17 15 – 49
Argos 12 10 8 12 – 42