FRISCO — With 12.2 seconds left, Sunnyvale’s Avionne Alexander toed the free throw line for a one-and-one. She sunk both shots to give her team a comfortable seven-point cushion.
Alexander led the Lady Raider charge, scoring over half of Sunnyvale’s points in a 50-43 victory over Ponder on Thursday in a Class 3A playoff game at Frisco Reedy.
Alexander finished with 27 points while Madison D’Elia added 15, including three 3-pointers.
“We wanted to keep [Alexander] under 20 tonight, but unfortunately she made some difficult and contested shots,” Ponder coach Gregory Gay said. “We needed to limit the others from scoring in double digits, which we did for everyone except for [D’Elia].
“We made the mistake of leaving her open three times, and all three times she sunk the 3-pointer. [Alexander] got her points, and that’s OK, but [D’Elia] made us pay for it in the end.”
Leading 40-37 with 2:53 left, D’Elia brushed off her teammate’s screen and pulled up near her team’s bench, sinking a trey to silence the Ponder crowd.
Ponder (26-9) ends its season with a hard-fought loss, but it’s the first time the Lady Lions made it to the area round since 2011.
Sunnyvale (32-3) advances to the regional quarterfinals against Howe or Alba-Golden.
Before the game, Gay said his girls would need to shoot well and at least limit Alexander. The Lady Lions couldn’t keep Alexander under her 17.5 points per game, and Ponder only one of 14 attempts beyond the arc.
“Of those 14 [3-pointers], 12 of them were as wide open as we could’ve been,” Gay said. “We’ve got to make that shot. That’s part of what we do. When we make one of 14, it’s tough to win.”
There were six lead changes in the first half, which ended tied at 18. The seventh lead change was the last.
Ponder was led by freshman Kelley Akins, who poured in 10 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter. Kylie Green added 13 before fouling out with three minutes left.
“I was proud of her,” Gay said of Akins. “In the fourth quarter, I just told her to get to the rim because nobody can guard her. She did what I asked and she helped us in the end.”
Sunnyvale 50, Ponder 43
Ponder (26-8) — Leigh Medders 1, Brigitte Rivere 2, Kelley Akins 15, Kaia Williams 5, Taylor Reeves 4, Kylie Green 13, Harley Bridges 3.
Sunnyvale (31-3) — Alexander 27, D’Elia 15, Brooke Daniel 2, Claire Knight 6.