ARGOS – The “Bell” will stay in Argos for another season as the Dragons were able to pull away from Culver for a win in the two teams traditional rivalry game by a 53-41 final.
The Dragons now have a 29-16 lead in the series for the traveling bell trophy that dates back to 1973. It was a game worthy of the rivalry as neither team gave in until the Dragons were able to wear down Culver and gain some much needed separation in the final three minutes.
“I learned quickly this is a big game for both communities and both the schools and it’s a hard fought battle,” said Argos coach Gordon Mosson. “We were fortunate to pull away at the end and I’m just happy for our kids and our community.”
“Obviously we want that bell back but what a great environment – both teams fans were all here it was just a great environment,” said Culver coach Tom Krueger. “I’m proud of our guys, I told them earlier in the year you can’t always judge a kids accomplishments in wins and losses.”
The Dragons were able to stretch a out to a six point lead in the first quarter but quickly in the second Culver closed it and it stayed at two for most of the rest of the game until late in the fourth.
“They didn’t want it any more than us, they didn’t out work us,” said Krueger of his squad. “It was the fact we go 5-15 in the paint in the first half. When you’re going neck and neck the way we were those are shots that have to be finished. It’s not ‘I’m going to get it up there and maybe somebody gets the board’ it has to go in. That turned the tide and then we have to do a few things defensively that wasn’t going to be our strength going against them. They were able to use their quickness.”
The Dragons rode a balanced attack with Ian Kindig burying five of seven threes as part of a 17 point night, Sam Manikowski hitting for 14, Diego Corral with seven points and seven rebounds, and Owen Nifong with a well rounded eight points, four boards and three assists.
“We don’t have any superstars,” said Mosson. “For us to have success we have to have all five guys on the floor contributing in different ways. They’ve bought in to what I throw at them and for the most part it’s working we just hope to get better as the season goes on.”
Culver was able to turn up the defensive intensity and got solid play out of several players in particular Ethan Shuman who hit for 12 and was a pair of rebounds short of a double/double with eight.
“Ethan played well,” said Krueger. “Owen Valiquet hit some big shots for us and those are two guys that have been struggling with their confidence. We’ve had four different guys lead us in scoring any different night this year. When all four of those guys are on some night it’s going to be fun to watch.”
“He’s very, very aggressive and you have to give him credit for that,” said Mosson of Shuman’s big night. “We were just hoping to contain him and we didn’t do very well with that in the first half. He’s a good athlete and he jumps well you have to give him credit. I felt our zone gave them trouble in the second half and for the most part it worked pretty well.”
“They’re buying in,” said Krueger of his team. “I’m proud of these guys because they could fold and go through the motions but they aren’t. They’re working hard in practice trying to get better, that says a lot about their character.”
Mosson is just as proud of his team.
“This is a good bunch,” he said. “They get along well with each other. They’ve accepted their roles and it seems to be working well.”
Argos moves to 12-6 on the year and have a game with Caston on Saturday. Culver is now 3-15 and play at Pioneer on Friday night.
•ARGOS 53, CULVER 41
Argos 13 20 43 53
Culver 7 19 32 41
Culver (41) – Valiquet 2 0-0 6, Roberts 2 0-0 4, Ziaja 1 0-2 3, Keller 1 0-0 2, Rifle 2 2-2 6, Shuman 6 6-10 18, Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 8-14 41.
Argos (53) – Manikowski 4 6-7 14, VanDerWeele 2 3-3 7, Kindig 6 0-3 17, Corral 1 5-6 7, Nifong 4 0-1 8. Totals 17 14-20 53.
3 Pt. FG – Culver 3-9 (Valiquet 2), Argos 5-8 (Kindig 5).
Rebounds – Culver 17 (Roberts, Shuman 7), Argos 17 (Corral 7).
Assists – Culver 3 (Roberts 3), Argos 5 (Nifong 3).
Steals – Culver 8 (Valiquet, Roberts, Shuman 2), Argos 5 (Manikowski 2).
Turnovers – Culver 12, Argos 20.
Fouls (Fouled out) – Culver 18 (Roberts), Argos 11.