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Orioles end 11-game skid, beat Abundant Life
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Argyles Nate Thomas drives hard to the hoop during the Orioles win over Madison Abundant Life Tuesday.
ARGYLE - Argyle senior Ryan Geissbuhler's timing couldn't have been better.

Geissbuhler came up with a game-clinching steal with three seconds left to give the Orioles a 40-37 win over Madison Abundant Life Tuesday.

"I could taste the win," Geissbuhler said. "I wanted to make sure we got the win. I was in the right place at the right time on the last play."

The Orioles (1-6, 0-3 Six Rivers East) snapped an 11-game losing streak with the victory.

It was a crazy final 46 seconds. Geissbuhler dove on a loose ball and called a timeout with 36 seconds to go to dodge a turnover. He then made 1 of 2 free throws with 18 seconds left to give the Orioles a 39-37 lead.

Madison Abundant Life senior Shaun Byrd, who had a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, missed a driving shot with seven seconds that would have tied the game.

"Coming off a one win season last year, these kids had the weight of the world on their shoulders thinking they had to get that first win," Argyle coach Brandon Bakken said. "I'm just glad they got the weight off their shoulders and can go home feeling good about themselves."

Geissbuhler, who scored 16 points and had three steals for the Orioles, understands the win was overdue.

"We have been working hard in practice," he said. "We had a lot of guys step up. It just feels good to get that first win."

Early on, it looked like the Orioles would run away with the game. Argyle senior Nate Thomas scored the Orioles' first eight points.

Then the Challengers went through a 6 minute, 30 second scoring drought before Byrd hit a jumper. Argyle led by as many as nine points in the first quarter. Byrd knocked down two, 3-pointers at the end of the second quarter to tie it at 20 at halftime.

Thomas scored 11 points and had eight rebounds, two steals and a block. The Challengers switched to a collapsing 2-3 zone in the second half and the Orioles struggled shooting from the outside. Argyle shot 33.3 percent (15-for-45). However, the Orioles were able to capitalize on the Challengers' 26 turnovers.

"We know Nate will get his points," Bakken said. "Every team in our conference knows Nate has been on varsity for four years. They are going to double and triple team Nate. They know who to key on. They (his teammates) have stepped up at times this year. They just have to be more consistent. At other times they have to be ready to take those shots."

Bakken wasn't surprised with Geissbuhler's play down the stretch.

"He's definitely one of our leaders," Bakken said. "We wanted to put the ball in his hands when we knew they were going to foul because he's a good free throw shooter."