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Basketball: Alvord bids for playoffs

By Travis Lisle | Published Saturday, February 7, 2015
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A new coach and a new philosophy. The Alvord Lady Bulldogs came into the season with both, creating an uphill climb.

“What we try to do is totally different from what these girls have done in the past,” said Alvord coach John Shelton. “Kids are adapting. We want to push the ball and shoot a lot of threes.”

With two games left in the regular season, the Lady Bulldogs appear to be peaking at the right time. They entered a pivotal game Friday against Era at 17-13 and more importantly, 10-2 in district.

Alvord could lock up a playoff spot with a win Friday, and Tuesday against Lindsay they can earn the league’s second playoff seed.

“We’re gelling at the right time,” Shelton said. “We’re finishing with two really tough games. We won’t have a warmup game but these two will be sufficient.”

In implementing his system, Shelton had a pair of strong options in the post area with Brianna Ponder and Cierra Rangel to build with.

“With them, we can work the defense from the inside out,” the coach said. “That keeps the defense honest and obligated to cover the entire floor.”

As for those outside shots, Alvord couldn’t be in much better shape. Last season, Katie Claborn led the state in made 3-pointers.

She’s made 91 treys this season, shooting 29 percent and leading her team with 14.2 points per game.

Mikena Mader has provided a second option on the perimeter.

Bailey Hamilton has taken over at point guard after starter Lacy Watkins tore her anterior cruciate ligament earlier in the season.

Defensively, the Lady Bulldogs want to wear teams down with constant full-court pressure.

Of the Lady Bulldogs’ 13 losses most are against larger schools. Their non-district schedule was littered with bigger schools like Granbury, Stephenville, Kennedale and Bridgeport.

Shelton said the Lady Bulldogs are seeing the dividends of that tough non-district schedule now.

Tuesday, Alvord drilled Collinsville 85-41.

Claborn and Ponder led the team with 16 points each. Rangel and Mader each had 14. Paycee Edgett finished with 13.

Reagan Guthrie picked up two charges in the game to bring her season total to a stunning 23 this season.

Entering the final week of the season, Shelton expects his team to continue to improve. He also believes his squad can play with anyone in the region, as long as the shots keep falling from the outside.

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