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Pec slips by Argyle
Argyle sophomore Miken Godfrey shoots after grabbing a rebound against Pecatonica at Argyle High School Friday. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
ARGYLE - Pecatonica junior Zack Eaton described the Vikings' thrilling 58-55 overtime win over Argyle as a sibling rivalry after they survived a scare Friday night.

Eaton scored a team-high 14 points and scored the key go-ahead basket down low with 18.2 seconds to go in the extra session. He then came up with a steal and Pecatonica junior Jaden Hendrickson sank two free throws to help the Vikings seal the win.

"We have played sports with one another," Eaton said. "It's like brothers. It's like big brother against little brother. You have to give Argyle credit. They came out, hit shots and fought hard. Any time you win a conference game on the road it's hard fought."

Argyle senior Brent Ritschard had a big performance, scoring a game-high 28 points and drilled six 3-pointers. Argyle sophomore Miken Godfrey added 15 points.

"Our focus, our heart and effort was at a different level tonight than it has been all season," Argyle coach Justin Jenson said. "Every time Pec brings out the best in us. Brent is a senior and he really wanted this game. I'm really proud of our effort. I'm not happy with the outcome. We are still a young team that starts three sophomores. I saw a lot of growth and a lot we can build off from tonight."

Argyle (2-7, 0-4 Six Rivers East) led by as many as nine points in the second half. Godfrey knocked down a 3-pointer and scored on a putback with 2 minutes, 51 seconds left in the second half to give the Orioles a short-lived 51-50 lead. Pecatonica sophomore Bo Hendrickson, who added 12 points, scored down low to give the Vikings a 52-51 lead with 1:48 to go.

Argyle had two turnovers in the final 35.2 seconds of regulation. However, the Orioles capitalized on their final opportunity when Ritschard scored on a layup off an inbound play under their own basket with 1.3 seconds to go to tie the game at 53 and force overtime.

Pecatonica (6-4, 4-0 Six Rivers East) played the game without junior staring point guard Colton Schraepfer, who missed his third straight game with an ankle injury.

"With Colton (Schraepfer) out we have to learn to play with more energy," Eaton said.

Pecatonica coach Matt Fink said Schraepfer will probably miss two weeks. He may not be ready to play when the Vikings host Barneveld with first place in the conference on the line Jan. 16.

"That is his target date of return," Fink said.

Ritschard hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give the Orioles a 40-31 lead. The Vikings answered with a 19-6 run. The big surge was sparked by junior Carter Ruegsegger who nailed a 3-pointer and senior Evan Prust who scored on a putback that helped ignite Pecatonica to a 50-46 lead. The Orioles wouldn't not go away. Godfrey scored five straight points late in the second half to set the stage for a nail-biting finish.

Prust added 13 points and Ruegsegger chipped in 9.

"I'm proud of how we battled back," Pecatonica coach Matt Fink said. "I thought Argyle played phenomenal. I thought in the first half we didn't match their intensity. They kept pushing us to the limit. We told our guys before the game this was not going to be easy. This is a rivalry game."

When Eaton scored the go-ahead basket down low in overtime, the Vikings caught the Orioles switching from a 2-3 zone defense to a man defense.

"I thought our guys had really good recognition when they switched to a man defense and we got the ball in the post and Zack drop stepped for a layup," Fink said. "When we needed it down the stretch, Zack and Bo (Hendrickson) made plays for us. As our bigs get better, we will get better."

With the win, Pecatonica remains tied with Barneveld atop the conference. Eaton said the ball movement against the Orioles' zone was better during the second-half run.

"In a close game like this a couple of plays decide it," Jenson said. "Our young guys stepped up tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't make the one play in the end to come out on top. The one thing is they have to believe in themselves. They have to believe they belong. They (Pecatonica) just have so many weapons who can score on you in man or a 2-3 zone."