What to expect: Argyle vs. Waco La Vega

Argyle hopes to celebrate on Saturday when it faces Waco La Vega for the Class 3A girls basketball state title. (Ashley Landis/For the Dallas Morning News)

It won’t get much better than it’s going to get on Saturday.

No. 1 vs. No. 2. Waco La Vega vs. Argyle. Flying mascot vs. eye-patched mascot.

Grab an overpriced hot dog and find your seat inside the Frank Erwin Center, because it should be a pretty good game.

Argyle faces La Vega at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the Class 3A girls basketball state championship game. Argyle is looking for its second state and first in 3A, while La Vega is looking for the state championship in the Lady Pirates’ first state tournament appearance.

Oh, and neither team has lost to a Class 3A team this season. Did I already say this one was going to be good? OK.

If Argyle wants to give La Vega its only loss this season, here are the four keys to the game.

 

1. Limit multiple scoring threats

Argyle head coach Skip Townsend conceded after Thursday’s practice that La Vega junior center Erin DeGrate will get her points if she’s in her groove. DeGrate, 6-foot 4-inches will have a five inch height advantage over Argyle junior center Delaney Sain. Sain won’t roll over and let DeGrate score at will, but the La Vega center will get her points. I think Argyle will be OK with that as long as the Lady Eagles can limit everybody else from scoring. That will be a tough task, as La Vega sophomore point guard Calveion Landrum is really, really good. She’s ranked No. 15 by ESPN Hoopgurlz in the Class of 2016.

 

2. Force La Vega to get to its bench

Townsend said his team needs to be aggressive against the Lady Pirates and attack La Vega’s press. The benefits of being aggressive not only help you on offense, it pays dividends in the foul column. Nobody outside of La Vega’s starting lineup played more than seven minutes in its state semifinal win against Abilene Wylie. Getting a team into foul trouble is always good. It means frequent trips to the free-throw line, a hesitant opponent and starters on the bench. So, the refs could play a huge factor in the state final, something that never happens in Argyle games.

 

3. Handle La Vega’s athleticism

After his team’s loss to La Vega on Thursday, Wylie head coach Kurt Richardson said the Lady Pirates were among the most athletic teams his team has faced this season. La Vega’s athletic backcourt is led by Landrum, who was impressive against Wylie as she dropped 19 points. Townsend said if the ball ends up in Landrum’s hands on the fastbreak, count it as two points. If Argyle gets La Vega in a halfcourt game, the Lady Eagles should be able to capitalize.

 

4. Strike from close range

All season, Argyle has turned the paint into a point factory. In Thursday’s 3A state semifinals, the Lady Eagles scored 36 of their 64 points in the paint and only attempted one 3-pointer. Sain and standout freshman Vivian Gray have done a good job all postseason of scoring close to the basket. Argyle hasn’t attempted many shots from the perimeter, and there hasn’t been any reason to. If Argyle can move the ball around and find gaps in the La Vega defense, the Lady Eagles will find success on Saturday morning.

 

Other notes:

- La Vega is trying to become the 19th UIL girls basketball team to finish the season undefeated

- Argyle’s Delaney Sain and Vivian Gray are averaging almost identical scoring totals. Sain is at 13.5 points per game, while Gray is at 13.4

- If Duncanville and La Vega both win on Saturday, it’ll be the third time in UIL history two girls teams have finished undefeated in the same year. The other years: 1999 (Mansfield, Dallas Lincoln), 1985 (Waco Richfield, Nazareth)

- Only three opponents have lost to La Vega by less than 10 points (Rockwall, Cleburne, San Antonio Brandeis).

- Only three opponents have lost to Argyle by less than 10 points during its 24-game win streak (Celina twice, Abilene Wylie)

- La Vega’s margin of victory — season: 26.9, district: 34.7, playoffs: 29.6.

- Argyle head coach Skip Townsend is going for his seventh state title and 14th straight victory in a state tournament game. Townsend won six state titles at Brock before he was hired at Argyle in 2011.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Pick up a copy of tomorrow’s paper for more on the game. I’ll be tweeting out updates here if you want to follow along tomorrow morning. The game will also be on Fox Sports Southwest Plus and streaming live at FoxSportsSouthwest.com.

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