Celina girls KO’d in controversial finish


COMMERCE — Controversy ended the rematch between District 10-3A rivals Argyle and Celina on Saturday in the Class 3A Region II girls final at Texas A&M-Commerce’s Field House.

A foul call — then, no call — on Kynese Davis’ game-ending 3-point attempt allowed Argyle to hold onto a 51-50 double-overtime win to send the Lady Eagles to the state tournament.

“They called a foul. They put their hands in the air, signaled three shots, talked about it and ran off the court,” Celina head coach Jordan Davis said. “We could try to appeal it. I will do whatever I can to fight for my kids. There will be a letter to the UIL and to that (officiating) chapter.

“Argyle is a great team, but our girls fought hard. They deserve a chance, or at least an explanation.”

Vivian Gray had 16 points, Delaney Sain scored 13 and Madison Ralston added 12 for Argyle (34-1), which will make its first trip to the 3A state tournament since 2009 — when it also defeated Celina in the regional finals at Commerce.

K.J. Stastny had 18 points and Sarah Cantu scored 17 for Celina (29-7), which was looking for its second trip to the state tournament during the last three years after being the 3A runner-up in 2012.

It marked the Ladycats’ fourth appearance in the Region II-3A tournament — and third in the regional final — during Davis’ six years as head coach.

Argyle took a 51-50 lead with 4.8 seconds left when Gray hit the second of two free throws.

Celina advanced the ball down the court and Davis made a lunging attempt at a 3-pointer as she appeared to have been fouled.

Cantu, an Air Force signee, tied the game at 50 with 56.2 seconds left on a pair of free throws.

Neither team scored in second overtime until Gray hit a mid-range jumper for Argyle with 2:17 remaining.

Argyle forced the second overtime when Sain laid in two points to beat the buzzer to end the first extra four minutes, which included 18 combined points and four ties. Mckale Grant made a steal and scored under the Lady Bobcats’ basket to break the first deadlock with 2:57 left.

Celina prompted the first overtime when Davis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 18 seconds left in regulation for a tie at 39. Davis also scored the Ladycats’ other two points in the fourth quarter.

Tied at 25 at halftime, Argyle took a four-point lead early in the third quarter via Gray scores before Cantu connected on a 3-pointer.

However, the Lady Eagles maintained the lead until nearly the last two minutes of the third. Alex Jones intercepted a pass on Argyle’s end and hit a jumper on the other with 2:17 left. Grant grabbed a rebound to end the Lady Eagles’ ensuing possession, followed by two Stastny free throws with 1:43 left for a 34-33 lead after three quarters for the Ladycats.

Argyle closed the first half on a 10-0 run during the last five minutes to forge a 25-25 tie, after a Stastny 3-pointer had briefly given Celina the only double-digit lead for either team.

In the first quarter Cantu answered Argyle’s opening 3-pointer before the Ladycats went scoreless for the next near three minutes and trailed 8-3.

But Celina outscored the Lady Eagles, 15-3, during the final 3:51 of the first, starting with eight straight points. After a Stastny steal on the Lady Eagles’ end, Cantu started the run with two free throws. A Stastny lay-in, Davis’ lead-giving steal and drive for a score and a short Grant jumper converted other Argyle turnovers into points.

The Lady Eagles interrupted the surge with a basket, before Cantu reignited it with a 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the first for a multiple possession lead during the remainder of the quarter. Grant’s score off the glass at the buzzer gave the Ladycats’ an 18-11 lead after one quarter.

On Friday, Celina defeated Crandall, 69-52, in a region semifinal as Stastny had 18 points.

The Lady Cats never trailed, starting the game with a 13-2 run, getting the first six via consecutive 3-pointers by Callie Wells, who joined Cantu with 14 points.

Celina held a double-digit lead late in the first and early at times in the second quarter before Crandall whittled it to four, 24-20, with 1:32 left in the half.

However, Celina, which led 31-23 at halftime, most often had a double-digit lead during second half, never again being seriously threatened.

“They outscored us (14-11) in the second quarter; I wasn’t too happy with that,” said Davis. “(The girls) responded after halftime and kept pushing. They did what had to be done.”

 

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