If there was any question that the Argyle Lady Eagles were a state caliber team, the girls answered with ferocity in the Class 3A state semifinal game against the Navarro Panthers on Thursday.
An energetic crowd filled the stands at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin and with the prospect of the state championship on Saturday looming over both teams, the tension in the air as the clock counted down to game time could only be exceeded by the noise and the cheers resounding throughout the court.
Four quarters later the Lady Eagles emerged as the victors with a final score of 64-37.
The Gray sisters were a dominant force in the game. Freshman Vivian Gray scored the first basket of the game, giving Argyle a two-point lead that Jesse Sheridan and Delaney Sain extended to six points.
Then Navarro player Summer Sahd made a lay-up and a three-pointer, followed almost immediately by lay-ups from Allison Hensley and Shannon Thompson, putting Navarro ahead 9-6. For a moment the fate of the game was up in the air, before a furious response by the Lady Eagles’ Jesse Sheridan and Madison Ralston put the score at 22-11 at the end of the first quarter with Argyle ahead.
Vivian Gray, Sain, and Sheridan widened the gap quickly in the second quarter. By halftime the Lady Eagles had jumped to a lead of 36-20, but with Navarro’s Summer Sahd still making consecutive shots, the Argyle crowd did not dare feel secure in their victory yet.
Sophomore Olivia Gray kicked off the second half with a jumper. Shannon Thompson put another seven points on the board for the Panthers, bringing the score at the end of the third quarter to 47-29.
In the last quarter, the Gray sisters, Sheridan, Sain, Ralston and Eschle all scored points for Argyle. Sahd and Hensley on Navarro also kept up a constant effort, but the Lady Eagles maintained their play surely to the end, to the score of 64-37.
With Waco La Vega winning against Abilene Wylie on the same day, the state championship game at 10:30 a.m. in the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will be between Argyle (36-1) and La Vega (34-0). The Lady Eagle players have high expectations for the match.
“It’ll be a very tough game, very physical,” freshman Vivian Gray said. “I feel prepared. I can’t wait.”