At the beginning of the season, the Madison-Grant Argylls struggled to close games out. In fact, they lost three of their first four contests on the final possession.
But through those heartbreaking defeats, the Argylls pressed on. They have continued to grow up as the season has progressed, learning what it takes to win close games.
And on Friday night, the Argylls finally got one to go their way, as Kaiden Howell hit three clutch free throws in the final seconds to secure a 69-67 victory over sensational sophomore Luke Brown and the Blackford Bruins.
“The kids executed our gameplan really well, especially defensively,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Brian Trout said. “We attacked where we wanted too offensively and kids just had a never quit attitude right down to the very end, and that’s what you have to have. Fortunately, we got one of those calls that haven’t gone our way so far this year at the end of the game, and it turned out our way. I guess the basketball gods owed us one.”
In a game that was close throughout its entirety, disaster struck with 3.1 seconds to go in the contest, as the Bruins got a steal underneath their own basket, forcing the Argylls to foul. Brown hit both shots, giving the Bruins a 67-66 lead.
But on the Argylls’ ensuing possession, Grant Brown found a streaking Howell, who was fouled on a last second three-point attempt. Howell then proceeded to sink all three free throws, helping to secure the Argylls’ fifth victory of the season.
“We ran some crisscross action trying to look for something down the floor no matter who it was,” Trout said. “We were just hoping to catch them trying to switch or get something mixed up. Kaiden caught [the ball,] and as soon as he caught it, the [Blackford defender] runs over him from behind, and he had the wherewithal to throw it up…and get to the line. He was able to knock them down.”
Brown finished the game with 36 points, leading all scorers, but Trout thought that his team did a great job of defending the Blackford star.
“I thought we did exactly what we wanted to do,” Trout said. “We made everything he got tough. I think he got one open look, and I think that was it tonight. I was really pleased. It was a team effort defensively all the way.”
Howell led the Argylls with 26 points, while Issac Cooper recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Brown finished with 11 points, one rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in the Argylls’ victory.