PONDER — Friday’s District 9-2A game between Ponder and Millsap didn’t have the atmosphere of a heavyweight contest. If anything, the Lions were trying to avoid losing what they considered a “trap” game.
Ponder — ranked fourth in Class 2A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches — did just that with a convincing 68-37 win over the struggling Bulldogs. Millsap (8-10, 4-4 district) trailed from start to finish and was outscored 36-18 in the second half.
The Lions (21-7, 7-1) boast an eight-game winning streak, which includes their emotional one-point win Tuesday over No. 1 Brock.
“If you look at our scouting board and our five keys to victory in the office, No. 5 says trap game with a question mark behind it,” Ponder coach Jude Stanley said. “That’s the point we tried to get across to our guys, because after a game like we had against Brock it’s very easy to have a letdown. Millsap is hungry and is looking to make the playoffs for the first time in 42 years. Our guys responded tonight.”
Clay Morgan scored 24 points and was one of three Lions to reach double figures. Brady Anderson added 12 points while Chase Harris knocked down 10. Eight players scored for the Lions, who started the game on a 14-0 run.
Morgan scored eight of his 10 first-half points in that surge and had racked up 18 points by the end of the third quarter. By that point, Ponder led by 19. Morgan kicked off the fourth quarter by scoring all of his team’s points during a 6-2 run that extended the lead to 52-29.
The Lions closed the game on a 14-4 run.
“It’s important to have balance, and I think we had that tonight,” Stanley said. “Clay got his points, but to have three players in double figures shows we spread the ball around very well. I’m proud of the way the guys played tonight.”
Millsap 39, Ponder 29
Ponder dug itself an early hole and, despite solid second-half shooting, couldn’t make up enough ground in a District 9-2A loss to Millsap.
The Lady Lions (3-22, 0-10) trailed by as many as 16 points midway through the second quarter but slowly chipped away and cut the Millsap lead to five points early in the fourth quarter off a three-point play from Teryana Sledge and a 3-pointer from Shelby Melvin.
The Lady Bulldogs (13-15, 2-8) were too much down the stretch and closed the game with a 7-2 run. Five of those points came from the free throw line.
“We don’t understand the importance of defense,” Ponder head coach Greg Gay said. “There was too much reaching, and we ended up putting them in the box.”
Sydney Herbell led all scorers with 24 points and was instrumental in the Lady Bulldogs’ 14-0 run in the first quarter. The surge gave them a 17-4 lead heading into the second.
Avery Leveridge led Ponder with nine points.
Ponder 68, Millsap 37
Ponder (21-7, 7-1) — Brady Anderson 12, Clay Morgan 24, Logan McCarty 4, Chase Harris 10, Josh Peterson 4, Dustin Ferguson 4, Craig Reames 6, Peyton Ford 4.
Millsap (8-10, 4-4) — Dalyn Clanin 8, Michael Rogers 4, Aaron Peninger 9, Gianluca Adas 10, Jaxon Martin 4, Nich Channer 2.
Millsap 39, Ponder 29
Ponder (3-22, 0-10) — Avery Leveridge 9, Morgan Melvin 1, Macie Simpson 2, Lauren Pittman 5, Michala Fenter 6, Teryana Sledge 3, Shelby Melvin 3.
Millsap (13-15, 2-8) — Sydney Herbell 24, Kaylie Ledford 4, Jolee Carswell 8, Courtney Coker 3.