When Ponder and Peaster step on the floor for tonight’s big District 9-2A boys basketball contest, there won’t be many secrets between the teams.
Tonight’s matchup will be the seventh meeting between the newfound district rivals, and there may have never been as much riding on the line.
Ponder leads Brock and Peaster by one game in the 9-2A standings. With a win tonight and a win against Boyd in the final game of the regular season, the Lions will clinch their first outright district title since 2011.
Ponder coach Jude Stanley said he hopes the Lions’ finish to the regular season will be something that springboards the team into the playoffs.
“One of the first goals that we set is to try to win a district championship,” Stanley said. “That’s always a huge goal on our list to try and accomplish. Our kids understand that not every school gets a chance to play for a district championship.
“That’s where it all starts. You try to get in the playoffs and make a run.”
Ponder (23-7, 9-1 district) holds a slim edge over Brock and Peaster, which both have 8-2 records in district play.
The Lions are ranked fourth in Class 2A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Brock is ranked fifth and Peaster sixth.
Ponder’s lone district loss came against Brock, a defeat the Lions avenged.
The first time Ponder played Peaster, Stanley said, little separated the teams. The Lions played good defense, made a few key plays down the stretch and pulled off a 55-51 victory on the road.
Stanley said he anticipates tonight’s matchup to be another difficult contest.
“There is some familiarity there with both teams,” Stanley said. “It’ll be a tough, hotly contested game for sure, because in these games there’s not a whole lot of secrets. You’ve got to do what you do and play better than they play.”
Krum to play for district’s top spot
At this point in the season, a little luck never hurts. After Krum’s girls defeated Gainesville in their final District 9-3A game, the Lady Cats won a three-way coin flip to earn a bye in the de facto 9-3A championship tournament.
Krum (17-15) will play Decatur at 8 tonight for 9-3A’s top playoff berth. The Lady Cats will finish with the district’s first or second playoff seed. Decatur defeated Gainesville 51-50 in overtime on Thursday night.
“That’s always a big bonus — winning the coin flip and not having to play back-to-back and then possibly having to play Monday,” Krum coach Lana Degelia said.
With a loss tonight, Krum would face Frisco Lone Star in the bi-district round of the playoffs. With a win, the Lady Cats would play the winner of Aubrey and Carrollton Ranchview’s play-in game.
Krum earned its spot as one of 9-3A’s co-champions following its win last Friday at Gainesville. Krum, Decatur and Gainesville all finished the season with 6-2 district records.
Degelia said her team stepped up to the challenge, as the Lady Cats wanted to have a say in their playoff fate. Krum reached the 3A state tournament last season.
“They did a great job of finishing district play the way they needed to,” Degelia said. “We put ourselves in a position to take a shot at taking the best route possible in the playoffs.”
Krum is in need of a big win tonight to carry its late-season momentum into the playoffs. No matter whom the Lady Cats face, their opponent will be a team that’s already defeated Krum this season.
“We’ve got to be mentally prepared to take the floor,” Degelia said.
Argyle, Sanger to meet in first round of playoffs
Argyle opens the first round of the Class 3A girls basketball playoffs against a familiar opponent. The Lady Eagles face Sanger at 7 p.m. Monday at Denton.
Argyle (30-1) has yet to lose to a 3A opponent this season, and enters the contest ranked as the No. 2 team in 3A by the TABC.
Sanger made a late-season push and secured District 9-3A’s final playoff berth.
Guyer girls to open Monday against Chisholm Trail
The Guyer Lady Wildcats will open the 4A playoffs Monday against Fort Worth Chisholm Trail. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Richland.
The Lady Wildcats (21-5) finished second in District 5-4A following a loss to Wichita Falls Rider in the final game of the regular season. Last season, Guyer reached the area round of the playoffs before losing to Waco.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.