PONDER — It’s not always easy being at the top of the mountain, but Ponder showed no signs of slowing down Wednesday in a 68-34 win over Krum.
The Lions — ranked No. 1 in Class 2A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches — got 24 points from Clay Morgan and outscored Krum 39-14 in the second half to offset a strong start by the Bobcats and notch their eighth consecutive win.
“In a game like this, it’s a strong rivalry and anything goes,” Ponder coach Jude Stanley said. “They [Krum] were on fire early, but our energy level came through, especially in the second half, and we got the ball where we needed it to go.”
Ponder (11-1) had three players score in double figures. Brady Anderson and Chase Harris scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Krum (1-6) got eight points from Lane Miller and seven from Riley Marshall, but the loss was the Bobcats’ sixth in a row.
“We are going to be able to stop the bleeding when we start making shots,” Krum coach Sam Anderson said. “The difference in the game was their shots went in and ours didn’t. I thought our kids stuck to the game plan and stayed patient. I’m proud of the guys; it’s just that we’re young and we have to make shots.”
Krum was heading in the right direction early and had the game tied at 11 at the end of the first quarter. There were four lead changes in the first 10 minutes, including a 3-pointer by Marshall with 6:02 left in the first half. The bucket gave the Bobcats a 16-15 lead.
But Ponder went on a 14-4 run to close out the half with a nine-point lead. Anderson and Austin Spiker each connected once from 3-point range to extend the Ponder lead to as many as 11 points before Krum scored right before the end of the half.
Morgan scored 15 of his points in the first half, with eight in the second quarter.
The Lions ripped off another 12-2 run to open the third. Krum had narrowed the deficit to seven points before Harris got Ponder’s run started with back-to-back 3-pointers.
From that point on, Krum couldn’t buy a basket. The Bobcats were held to eight points in the third quarter and entered the fourth trailing by 22 when Ponder’s Logan McCarty hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Krum went on a brief 4-2 run to get to within 20, but Ponder scored 16 of the game’s final 18 points.
Stanley said the win was important coming off a layoff due to the recent ice storm, but he said he refuses to put too much stock into the team’s top billing.
“I told the team being No. 1 is good on paper but you can’t get hung up on it,” Stanley said. “We play every night to get better so that we can possibly do some special things down the road.”
Ponder 68, Krum 34
Ponder (11-1) — Clay Morgan 24, Josh Peterson 6, Brady Anderson 11, Dustin Ferguson 2, Austin Spiker 5, Chase Harris 10, Logan McCarty 5, Cameron Sallee 5.
Krum (1-6) — Lane Miller 8, Jared Cowan 2, Nick Perches 4, Colton Knierim 3, Garrett Koiner 4, Riley Marshall 7, Hunter Sullivan 2, Tyler Romines 2, Jarrett Deaton 2.