ARGYLE — Rhyle McKinney’s step-back 3-pointer with under 30 seconds left nearly completed the unlikely comeback, but a turnover on the final possession told the more accurate story Tuesday night as Argyle lost to Keller 52-48 at home.
The Lady Eagles (8-4) struggled late to manufacture offense in the fourth quarter, and even McKinney’s nine points in the final frame weren’t enough to pull out the win.
“They run a very aggressive defense, but the middle of it is open and you have to attack that area,” Argyle coach Chance Westmoreland said. “We did a much better job of that in the second half, but they’re good at getting steals and transition baskets.”
McKinney ended the night with 25 points to lead all scorers, but the Lady Indians (11-3) switched to a box and one defense to try to contain her in the fourth quarter, disrupting Argyle’s offensive rhythm.
Helping McKinney put points up was forward Shelby Henches who scored nine points on the inside. Keller’s active defense created a host of problems for the Lady Eagles and gave them plenty to examine moving forward.
“We learned a lot tonight,” Westmoreland said. “The play at the end wasn’t the reason we lost the game, there were a lot of plays that we could have made. And there are going to be times where teams deny Rhyle and we have to be able to make the play and it’s a great learning tool.
“That’s why we play good teams, because they put you in situations that you’ll see later on and now we can learn from that and make adjustments.”
While the effort was omnipresent from Argyle, the rebounding disparity began to get Keller second chance points and forced the Lady Eagles into some fouls. The pace and physicality of the game favored the aggressive Lady Indians, and it cost Argyle.
“They did a lot better job rebounding than we did,” Westmoreland said. “We’re usually a pretty good offensive rebounding team but tonight we only had six or seven and that was the difference. That’s something we can clean up, but it cost us the game tonight.”
Argyle entered the season knowing the schedule would be one of the more difficult in the state, especially for a 4A team, but the reigning five-time state champs embraced the challenge from the start.
Three of the four losses have come by six or less points and the four defeats have come against teams with a combined 43-11 record.
“We’re still growing and that’s why we schedule tough, I don’t want to be peaking right now,” Westmoreland said. “Our goal is to find our identity early in the year then start playing well in district and in the playoffs and you have to play good people to expose those weaknesses.”
Keller 52, Argyle 48
Argyle 10 16 11 11 — 48
Keller 16 12 12 12 — 52
Argyle — Rhyle McKinney 25, Shelby Henches 9, Hailey Lavelle 5, Bailey Timmons 4, Abby Williams 3, Grace Freeman 2.