By Brandon Evans
The fast, physical play of Jordan Ward coupled with strong outside shooting of Carley King and Macy Lynch propelled Alvord to a convincing playoff win over Prairiland Friday night.
The third-ranked Lady Bulldogs started strong and finished even stronger in a convincing 64-37 win over the Lady Patriots (27-5) in the Class 2A Region II area-round playoff game at Van Alstyne High School.
Alvord outscored Prairiland 20-10 in the first period. And after a defensive second period, they entered halftime with a 28-18 lead. Not satisfied with their first-half effort, the Lady Bulldogs turned up the heat in the second half.
“We started taking the ball more aggressively to the net,” said Alvord guard Jordan Ward. “I also needed to get to the center more, which I started doing.”
The 5-5 senior led all scorers with 20 points, shooting 8-for-14. She also led the team with 10 steals on the night, and added eight assists for good measure.
Ward started taking control of the ball with authority. She began the second half by ripping the ball from the hands of Prairiland player.
“(Prairiland) started turning the ball over more in the second half, and we took advantage of it,” said Alvord coach Rob Schmucker. “We also started to rebound the ball a lot better.”
Alvord shooting was sharp outside the paint.
“We did a good job of finding open players on the outside,” Ward said.
King took advantage of open looks outside the arc. The junior guard hit 5-of-11 three-point attempts. She finished the night with 16 points, shooting 45 percent from downtown.
With less than three minutes left in the game, Lynch added some accuracy of her own, dropping back-to-back three-point swishes to carry the game further out of reach.
Alvord posted 21 points in the third period and outscored Prairiland 36-19 overall in the second half.
Despite an ever-growing lead, the Lady Bulldogs never stopped playing hard, aggressive basketball. Prairiland players were left panting and their coach subbed constantly in an attempt to keep up with the seemingly perpetual energy of the Lady Bulldogs.
Junior Sam Hahn was Alvord’s third leading scorer with nine points. She shot 83 percent from the free-throw line. Senior Madi Lynch had six, sophomore Marissa Schedcik added four, junior Ariel Rogers had two, and senior Chelsey Steele had one.
Prairiland senior guard Callie Tucker was her team’s leading scorer with 10. She hit 5-of-11 with eight of her points coming from inside the paint.
Alvord’s tight defending shut down Prairiland’s outside shooting all night. Only seven shots fell from outside the paint for the Lady Patriots.
Alvord (30-4) is slated to play Godley next week in Saginaw in a regional quarterfinal. The Lady Bulldogs lost in that playoff round last year to eventual state champion Brock.
As the grueling postseason continues, there’s little time to enjoy the win.
“We’ll start going over game film and preparing tomorrow,” Schmucker said.