By Richard Greene
In a tight loss in their second meeting, the Alvord Lady Bulldogs couldn’t keep the Krum Lady Bobcats off the glass.
Friday night with District 9-2A’s top playoff seed on the line, the Lady Bulldogs owned the boards in the first half to build a double-digit lead. That lead held up against a furious Krum comeback in the final two minutes as Alvord escaped with a 51-49 victory before a near-capacity crowd at Bridgeport High School gym.
Alvord won the battle of the boards 28-21.
“They killed us at our place with the offensive rebounds,” said Alvord coach Rob Schmucker. “We knew we had to go to the boards to win, and we did.”
With the victory, Alvord (29-4) earns a bye through bi-district to the area round of the Class 2A Region II playoffs.
Krum (29-3) will open the playoffs Tuesday against the winner of Saturday’s Distict 10-2A third-place battle between Boyd and Tolar.
Schmucker and his players downplayed any significance to the second win in three meetings with the second-ranked Lady Bobcats.
“This was just for seeding,” said Alvord point guard Jordan Ward. “It really didn’t mean anything. It was a good warmup game.”
But with the way they attacked the boards, the Lady Bulldogs showed they weren’t about to head into the playoffs with a loss. Alvord built a 17-9 edge on the glass in the first half.
Ward said Schmucker talked about rebounding all week and at the beginning of the game.
“He said whoever wins the rebounding edge will win the game,” Ward recalled.
On the offensive glass, Alvord pulled down 13 to Krum’s four. Ward and Chelsey Steele had four each. Alvord scored 12 second-chance points.
“We didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the offensive glass,” said Krum coach Lana Degelia.
With its edge on the glass and work on the defensive end, the Lady Bulldogs built a 34-20 halftime lead. Alvord ended the first half on an 11-2 run, capped by Madi Lynch’s putback at the buzzer.
Krum managed only a field goal and three free throws in the second quarter.
Alvord maintained the lead, going up 16, 43-27, on a Ward free throw with 1:19 left in the third quarter. Ward finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds along with three steals.
“Jordan did what we all know she can do,” Schmucker said. “I get on her more than anyone and she rises to the challenge.”
Krum opened the final frame on an 8-2 run to cut Alvord’s lead to eight with 3:40 left.
After two missed shots, Steele fought for the offensive rebound and scored with exactly three minutes left to push the Lady Bulldogs’ lead back to 10.
Steele finished with eight boards and six rebounds.
“Chelsey came in and did a great job on the offensive boards,” Schmucker said. “She’s that trash player that will do everything we need her to do.”
Alvord led by 12, 51-39, with 1:29 left. Short on time, Krum scored the game’s final 10 points, including Rachel Wallace’s three-pointer with less than a second left to make it a two-point game.
Wallace finished with 13 points, while battling with Ward all night. Nine of her points came in the fourth quarter.
Syndney Shelstead and Julia Schmaltz added 11 points apiece for Krum.
Alvord 51, Krum 49
Krum 15 5 9 20 – 49
Alvord 15 19 9 8 -51
Krum (29-3) – Rachel Wallace 13, Julia Schmaltz 11, Syndney Shelstead 11, Allison Beck 5, Diamond Martinez 4, Caitlyn Arnold 3, Callie Craddock 2.
Alvord (29-4) – Jordan Ward 13, Carley King 10, Chelsey Steele 8, Madi Lynch 8, Marissa Schedcik 7, Ariel Rogers 5.
3-Pointers: Krum 1 (Rachel Wallace); Alvord 2 (Carley King 2). Free throws: Krum 12-16; Alvord 11-16.
Rebounding: Krum 21 (Shelstead, Wallace, Martinez 3); Alvord 21 (Ward 10). Turnovers – Krum 12; Alvord 18.