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  • Val T.

Richard, Stults combine for 47 as Argos wins 8th straight Bell

Rodgers scores 18, Hite adds 14, but Cavs drop to 7-8


Sports Editor, RTC

Luke Stults

ARGOS — Argos boys basketball coach Jason Breden said he might need to get his eyes checked after inadvertently forgetting to check junior forward Luke Stults as a starter in the scorebook before Thursday’s home game with sectional rival Culver.

One thing that would appear to be clear would be Argos’ dominance of the Bell rivalry with the Cavaliers.

Argos won their eighth straight Bell game and their 14th straight meeting overall against Culver with a 62-52 win at Phil Weybright Gymnasium Thursday.

Sean Richard scored nine of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter for the Dragons, and Stults came off the bench – even he was not aware of

Mekhi Austin

Breden’s scorebook faux pas and he ran out for pregame introductions even though he was not starting – and scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds after being inserted 14 seconds into the game.

In his point guard duel with Richard, Jack Rodgers led Culver with 18 points, and David Hite added 14.

But Hite fouled out with 4:07 left and the Cavs trailing 49-47, and Argos (7-9) immediately went on an 8-0 spurt to take a 10-point lead.

The 10-point lead represented Argos’ largest lead.

Argos made 27 of 32 free throws while Culver (7-8) drained four of eight.

Culver has not beaten Argos since a 43-37 win in a Bi-County Tournament

Jack Rodgers

consolation game on Jan. 20, 2017. Culver has not won the Bell since a 59-36 triumph in 2016.

Argos has also won the last three sectional meetings and the last three Bi-County meetings against Culver.

“It’s not a concern,” Culver coach Kyle Evans said. “We lose this game every year.”

Culver never led in the second half, but they did tie the game at 31 in the third quarter on a Logan Caudill putback, and they were still hanging within 49-47 on a Hite banker in transition after a Rodgers hit-ahead pass found Hite in stride with 4:23 left.

Breden called timeout.

Then, 16 seconds after Hite’s bucket, officials cited him for grabbing Richard’s jersey trying to steal an inbounds pass, and Richard hit two free throws as Argos was now in the bonus.

After an exchange of turnovers, Mekhi Austin stepped in the passing lane of an Adria Guasp pass and took it the length of the court, just finishing a layup over a fast-closing Guasp to make it a six-point lead.

“I feel that was a big turning point for us,” Richard said of Austin’s steal and basket. “It got the crowd into it. It got us hyped. I feel like we came back down and got a defensive stop after that, so I feel that was a real big play for a freshman.”

Jonas McCuen challenged the 6-5 Stults in the paint and missed short, and Rodgers fouled Richard with 1:51 left. Richard, who went 14 for 15 from the line, hit two more to extend the lead to eight.

McCuen then missed a 3, and the ball bounced off the rim and hit the basket support, giving Argos the ball out of bounds.

Argos then executed their press breaker. Richard advanced it up the middle and fed Kenyan Beldon on the wing. Beldon then passed to Mekhi Austin on the sideline in front of his own team’s bench, and Austin fed a cutting Richard, who finished with a left-handed layup driving through the middle of the lane to make it 57-47.

“I think down the stretch, we were relaxed and composed, and I think that’s what (led) us to the win,” Richard said. “I know that it’s an intense atmosphere, and they always bring a crowd, but we brought our own crowd, and I feel like they were giving a boost for us. This was my fourth Bell game, and I know what the atmosphere is like, so I just try to be relaxed as possible, and if things ain’t going your way, it’s when you slow it down and work the ball.”

Jonas McCuen would hit a trey from the left corner to break the run, but Stults hit five of six foul shots in the final 1:09 to secure the win.

Culver lost despite making eight 3-pointers and limiting Argos to one made 3.

Rodgers scored nine points in the first five-and-a-half minutes as Culver jumped out to a 15-6 lead. Rodgers capped the early start with a 3-pointer on a kick-out assist from Ethan Binion after an offensive rebound.

Argos switched from a man-to-man to a 2-3 matchup zone, and Rodgers had only three field goals in the final three quarters. Rodgers came in averaging 22.1 ppg, and he had scored 20 or more seven times.

“We went man-to-man,” Breden said. “Their ball screen was giving us a little bit of trouble getting Rodgers downhill, so we chose to go with a matchup zone just trying to mix it up.”

Evans said his team’s offensive woes were self-inflicted.

“We gave ourselves problems – too out of control and spastic. … It’s just us. I’ve got to coach them better,” Evans said.

Culver still led 19-11 in the first quarter before Breden told his players to slow down against Culver’s zone pressure.

Argos went on a 19-4 run covering the first and second quarters, taking the lead at 22-21 on a Stults putback of Richard’s missed free throw

Hite scored in transition, but Beldon scored on a nifty driving banker, Stults scored in the post, Beldon hit a pullup jumper in the lane, and Stults hit two free throws. Argos led 30-23.

Breden said Argos had to make more offensive than defensive adjustments after the early nine-point deficit.

“Their press got to us to start, mainly because we just weren’t in our right spots,” Breden said. “Once we got some of our people in the right positions and we just started making the reads and started slowing down, that’s when we actually were getting into a halfcourt game with them and playing basketball. What they do so well is they want to speed the game up and want to have a hectic game, and I’m a firm believer that basketball, especially on the high school level, is whoever can play their style the best.

“If we got into their frenzied style, up and down, we probably would lose, but we were able to get them in kind of a halfcourt game and work the ball. Just our style more.”

Argos also won the JV game 46-30.

Argos 62, Culver 52

CULVER (52) (7-8)

David Hite 6 0-0 14, Jack Rodgers 7 2-4 18, Jonas McCuen 1 0-0 3, Adria Guasp 2 0-0 5, Logan Caudill 1 2-4 4, Caleb McCuen 2 0-0 6, Ethan Binion 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 20 4-8 52

ARGOS (62) (7-9)

Kenyan Beldon 2 0-0 4, Mekhi Austin 3 2-2 9, Zhayne Hellums 0 0-0 0, Sean Richard 7 14-15 28, Hayden Hensler 0 2-2 2, Luke Stults 5 9-13 19

TEAM: 17 27-32 62

Three-point field goals:

Culver 8 (Rodgers 2, Hite 2, C. McCuen 2, J. McCuen, Guasp),

Argos 1 (Austin)

Total fouls: Culver 24, Argos 10

Fouled out: Hite (CUL), 4:07, fourth

Turnovers: Culver 16, Argos 16

Score by quarters

Culver 19 5 13 15 52

Argos 13 17 12 20 62

JV: Argos 46, Culver 30

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