Weatherford Democrat

March 1, 2014

Ponder gets regional revenge in last-second win over Brock


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

STEPHENVILLE — It’s been said revenge is a dish best served cold.

For the second year in a row, District 9-2A mates Brock and Ponder met in the Class 2A Region II Final for the right to go to state. Last year, Brock pulled out a 52-42 win.

A crowd of 1,875 at TSU’s Wisdom Gym saw an absolute 32-minute dandy Saturday, with both teams knotted in a 48-all deadlock with nine-tenths of a second left in regulation. Going for a rebound, Ponder’s Josh Peterson was fouled.

With a trip to Austin on the line, Peterson had nothing but ice water in his veins, burying both foul shots to give the Lions the lead.

Brock Coach Zach Boxell used his last timeout, hoping to set up a halfcourt screen play and get the ball into junior post Lance Ewell’s hands. It wasn’t to be, however, as the inbound cross-court pass was picked off, sealing the Eagles’ fate and ending Brock’s year at 29-8.

It was a heartbreaking way to end a season, as Brock led most of the way, starting strong with a Ewell bucket and three-pointer by Hayden James three-pointer in the game’s first 70 seconds setting the tone. Ponder (30-7) held tough early but back-to-back threes from Ewell and James capped a 70 percent shooting quarter for the Eagles and put the squad up 17-11 after one.

Ewell and fellow post Harris Jowell had some foul trouble in the second but got some offensive help from Bailey Cockburn, Micah Thornton and Hayden McPherson to take a 28-24 lead into the break. Ponder would get within one but the three-point barrage from the Eagles began again with James, McPherson and Cockburn all converting from outside to extend the lead to 37-29, the biggest of the game, midway through the third and forcing Ponder into a timeout.

The Lions would score the last five points of the frame, however, setting up a tremendous finish. Ewell led a balanced attack with 13 points for Brock. Chase Harris paced Ponder with 16 tallies.



Brock 62, Life Red Oak 54

Brock earned the right to advance to the round of eight by pulling away in the final minute Friday night.

A pair of Scott Muirhead free throws had cut the Brock lead to 56-54. The Mustangs (27-8) fouled and Cockburn buried 1-2 free throws to extend the lead to three. The Eagles defense clamped down in the final seconds, forcing Life Red Oak to miss its final four shots from the field.

A Ewell dunk and Thornton layin late sealed the deal.

After the Mustangs had taken a 39-37 lead heading into the fourth, Ewell, who had all of his team-high 13 points in the second half, tied the game at 39 on the first possession. Brock used a pair of Cockburn free throws and a bucket and a Ewell basket for a 7-0 run midquarter to break a 41-all deadlock.

The Mustangs wouldn’t go away, using a 9-0 run to go up 50-48. Junior guard Hayden James helped Brock begin pulling away with his second three-pointer of the game and a bucket, extending the lead to 56-52 with 54 seconds to go.

“The kids showed some poise down the stretch when we needed it,” Boxell said. ““We protected the basketball and attacked the basket to help pull away.”

The Eagles had trouble getting the offense going in the early moments, needing nearly three minutes to get on the board via a James trey. It was the start of a 9-0 run with Cockburn and Harris Jowell contributing baskets. Brock’s defense forced eight straight missed shots by the Mustangs, who were down 11-6 after one.

Life Red Oak would get within 15-14 midway through the second but would not score again. Brock took advantage, using buckets by Cockburn, Thornton and McPherson to take a 21-14 halftime lead.

Cockburn added 13 points for the Eagles with James and Thornton tossing in 12 each in a balanced attack. Karrey Sanders and Jeremy Reese each had 14 for Life Red Oak.