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.