Argyle Boys Basketball Proved the Doubters Wrong

Argyle Boys Basketball Proved the Doubters Wrong

by Steve Gamel

Argyle boys basketball coach Russell Perkins said during the playoffs that he didn’t think many people believed the Eagles were good enough to make it to the state tournament.

Well, they did. And they almost went all the way.

The Eagles were one buzzer-beating 3-pointer away from beating Silsbee in the Class 4A state semifinals on March 10. The potential game winner hit the back iron and was cleared out as time expired in a gut-wrenching 46-45 loss at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The loss capped a season in which the Eagles won 33 games, claimed a share of the District 9-4A title, and beat four state-ranked playoff teams before falling to Silsbee – one game short of the state final.

It was the program’s first state tournament appearance since 2012.

“There’s not many people who thought we could do this, but we had 15 guys and a coaching staff that believed we could,” Perkins said. “We knew if we could do the things we are good at, and do them right, that we would have a chance.”

The matchup was a textbook example of contrasting styles. Silsbee, the No. 1 team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A state poll, was averaging nearly 103 points per game in the playoffs with its high-pressure, high-tempo style while No. 10 Argyle’s approach was more methodical and predicated on an unrelenting defense.

There were 18 lead changes. Despite the loss, Argyle was able to hold Silsbee to its lowest single-game point total of the year.

On the final play, Argyle got the ball to senior guard Nathan Priddy with about nine seconds left. Priddy, who finished with 18 points, drew the defense in
before flicking a pass to Blaze McMellian.

The pass took the entire defense by surprise as McMellian stood alone.
He took the shot. But it didn’t fall.

Perkins loses the bulk of his roster to graduation, including the likes of Priddy and David Davis. The Eagles will be a different team next year, but the expectations have been set.

“It was led by these seniors,” Perkins said. “Just the character they showed every day, it’s hard to do that every day. But we did, and I couldn’t be more proud of our whole team.”

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