The Alvord Lady Bulldogs lost a tough, physical match against the undefeated Sunnyvale Lady Raiders in the third round of the playoffs, the Class 2A regional quarterfinal, Tuesday night at the Frisco Wakeland High School gymnasium.
After falling behind 7-0 in the opening minutes, Alvord could never quite catch up and lost 53-44.
“The first two to three minutes we gave them a 7-0 lead and that was pretty much the game,” said Alvord head coach Rob Schmucker. “It was very physical. Both teams stepped up and faced the challenge. I can’t say enough how proud I am of these kids. They played hard.
“It was a good game, but at the end they just made some good shots and you have to give them credit.”
Sunnyvale outscored Alvord 18-10 in the first quarter. The Alvord defense had trouble stopping guard Gracie Goodhart. She led all scorers and finished with 20 points. She shot 70 percent from inside the arc.
“She was good at setting us up and then driving into the paint,” said Alvord junior guard Katie Claborn.
Claborn and senior guard Marissa Schedcik led Alvord with 14 each.
With 4:42 left in the final frame a long trey by Claborn put Alvord in striking distance, 45-42.
Two minutes later, senior guard Lauren Hart flew to the basket with a layup after a swift pass from Schedcik kept the game close, 47-44, with just over two minutes left. But Sunnyvale pulled away in the final minute by forcing Alvord to foul and then sinking every free throw.
“I was really proud of us coming back,” Claborn said. “They made runs and we came back. We did a really good job to stay with them during the game. We played together. We played hard. It just wasn’t our time.
“We let them have easy threes and then they got in the paint really easily and that cost us there at the end.”
It was the final high school game for four seniors: Hart, Schedcik, Kandi Rose and Blaine Hamilton.
“It’s emotional,” said Hart. “It’s been a good ride. I’m sad to see it end. It’s been a heck of a ride and I’ve enjoyed it.”
“It’s very upsetting,” Schedcik said. “I love these girls more than anything, and I would give anything in the world to play another season with them.”
“I couldn’t ask for a better four seniors,” Schmucker said. “They brought so much to the table every practice, every offseason. They can walk with their heads up because they did their job. And they did it the right way.”
Schmucker and his players are counting on that attitude and tradition continuing with the Lady Bulldogs basketball program next year.
“I’m excited about next year,” Claborn said. “It ended early this year, and it’s not how we planned it, but I can’t wait to get going again.”
Alvord finished the season with a 21-10 record. Sunnyvale advanced to the regional semifinal and a 33-0 record.