By Richard Greene
Before the game Friday, Alvord coach Rob Schmucker talked about his team’s need to improve its rebounding.
His team must have got the message.
The Lady Bulldogs controlled the glass, finishing with a 16-board edge in a decisive 59-36 win over the Ponder Lady Lions at Ponder High School.
“We’ve got to rebound,” Schmucker said. “Our post players really came through and gave us an inside presence. The rebounding was nice to see.”
Alvord (25-3) moved to 9-1 in District 9-2A and kept pace with Krum atop the league. The Lady Bulldogs will play a non-conference game Tuesday against THESA before playing their final three district games.
“Every game is big,” Schmucker said. “We’ve got to win out. We’re trying to force a seeding game.”
Alvord players say they are trying not to concentrate on the district race.
“We’re trying to settle down and just play for ourselves,” said Alvord post Madi Lynch.
Lynch teamed with Chelsey Steele to lead the charge on the glass. Lynch grabbed eight rebounds along with scoring 11 points and dishing out four assists.
“We knew we had to step up,” Lynch said.
Steele led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points along with grabbing five rebounds.
“We haven’t been doing good rebounding,” Steele said. “My teammates were blocking out their girls and it was allowing me to get open and to the ball.”
Alvord outrebounded Ponder 33-16. The Lady Bulldogs held an 18-10 edge on the glass in the first half.
Along with the work on the boards, Alvord played solid defense throughout. The Lady Bulldogs force 16 turnovers and held Ponder to 30 percent shooting, 12-for-39.
Ponder managed only three field goals in the first half on 20 attempts.
“I give the girls a lot of credit for their defense,” Schmucker said. “You have to do that. Offensively, sometimes you don’t show up. But the defense should always show up.”
Ponder’s Jessica Sprabeary finished with 17 points on 14 shots. She scored six in the final minute on two three-pointers that only put a slight dent in Alvord’s 27-point lead.
The Lady Lions’ Madison Stout added 14 points, hitting three of her 12 shots.
Ponder only got five points from the rest of its team.
“We did what we needed against the critical players and held them to what we needed,” Steele said.
Alvord’s Jordan Ward hit a pair of free throws with no time left in the first quarter to put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 8-6. Ward finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Ward’s free throws started a 12-2 run for the Lady Bulldogs. Marissa Schedcik capped the run with a three-pointer to put Alvord up 18-8.
The Lady Bulldogs led 22-10 at halftime.
Lynch’s putback seconds into the second half ignited an 11-3 spurt that extended the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 20, 33-13, with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Alvord carried an 18-point edge into the fourth quarter. In the final frame, the Lady Bulldogs kept building their lead, going up 57-30 with in the final two minutes.