CULVER | By the time South Central started digging itself out on Friday night, the hole was already too deep.
The Satellites were never able to recover from an early deficit in the Class A Culver Community Sectional semifinal, falling 75-51 to Argos. Mark Richards tied a game-high with 18 points for South Central, while Jacob Clindaniel and Max Clemons added 11 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench.
“Our kids, all year, they haven’t given up,” Satellites coach Eric Branz said. “That’s the one thing I can say about this team and no one can deny it. They always work hard, no matter what the situation is. We’ve been down in many games and we always fight back.”
South Central staged a comeback effort in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Dragons 38-33. The Satellites started the second half with a 6-2 run, cutting the lead to 10, but Argos had built too large a lead and found answers too often.
“We’ll string a couple together, and then we’ll back off, kind of take the foot off the pedal a little bit,” Branz said. “We can’t string enough stops defensively together to then get back on offense. We started shooting the ball a lot better, but (it comes down to) getting stop after stop.”
Argos shut out the Satellites (5-16) in the first quarter, building a 16-0 lead. Branz was happy with his bench play during South Central second- and third-quarter comeback effort.
“That’s what we look for,” Branz said. “I have a starting unit that I’m not afraid to change things. But I’m always looking for that spark off the bench.”
Argos (13-7) was led by 18 points from both Dominic Cataldo and Casey Johnson. Taylor Ogle added 16 for the Dragons. Argos shot 57 percent from the floor in the first half and 51 percent (28-of-55) for the game.
South Central loses just two seniors and will return 10 underclassmen next season. Branz plans to give his players some time off, then hit the weight room and gym to start preparing for next season.
“I think a lot of our struggles shooting the basketball this year was due to their immaturity as far as experience and just a lack of getting as many shots up as older (players) have over the course of their life,” Branz said. “These guys love to play basketball and I love being at South Central because of that.”