Pottsboro loses to Ponder in area round

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Pottsboro's Hannah Fellinger looks to pass over Ponder's Kassi Ballard in a Class 3A Region II area round match-up.

CELINA — It was a contrast in methods for a postseason match-up between former district rivals. The Ponder Lady Lions average 72 points and were coming off scoring 105 in a bi-district victory over Dallas Madison. The Pottsboro Lady Cardinals have rarely allowed opponents to put up more than 40 points against them.

One team was going to find success using their blueprint and while Pottsboro kept Ponder below its season average, it couldn’t keep pace with the Lady Lions in a 60-45 loss in a Class 3A Region II area round match-up.

Ponder (26-3) will face either Maypearl or Emory Rains in the region quarterfinals.

“We just didn’t make shots. That’s the deal in the playoffs. You have to make shots,” first-year Lady Cardinals head coach Aaron Bates said. “We had open looks; we just didn’t hit them.”

Hadley Williams scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half to go with eight rebounds, Hannah Fellinger finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals, Brayli Simpson chipped in 10 points and Autumn Graley totaled six points, six rebounds and three assists for Pottsboro (21-6).

“Hadley and Hannah have done a lot for us the last four years on varsity,” Bates said. “Outside of those two and our other senior Emma Powlison, we have really young players getting minutes. I hope they see what those three girls did to put in the work and be that good.”

Tate Wells scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half while Karly Ivy and Kenzie Crider each chipped in 10 points for the Lady Lions, who have won 11 straight and 20 of their last 21 games.

Pottsboro finished with 21 turnovers and all but two came in the first three quarters as Ponder built up its lead. The Lady Lions had 18 of their own but eight came in the fourth quarter as the Lady Cardinals put on a press to try and rally.

Pottsboro had nearly as many points in the fourth quarter as it did in the first three combined (24). The deficit was 24 before the Lady Cardinals started to chip away and they were shooting free throws for nearly the final six minutes to help aid that cause. Graley’s two free throws with 4:05 left got the margin to 17 but Ivy followed with a three-pointer and the closest Pottsboro could get was the final score.

Ponder started the third quarter with an 8-2 burst as Wells began to take control of the game. She had a three-pointer and a three-point play as the Lady Lions pushed their advantage towards 20 points.

Aly Malone and Fellinger had consecutive layups to stunt the momentum but those were the only shots Pottsboro hit in the final five minutes of the quarter. Williams made a pair of free throws in the closing moments for a 45-24 deficit.

The Lady Lions took the lead for good with a 16-1 run to end the first half.

In the first couple minutes of the second quarter the teams exchanged buckets. Chloe Poole tied the game at 13 before a Fellinger jumper put Pottsboro back in front. Ivy made two free throws to knot the score at 15 with 5:58 left in the stanza and for the rest of the quarter the Lady Cardinals managed just a free throw from Graley with 1:49 on the clock.

While there were seven turnovers in the quarter, Pottsboro fell behind because it went cold from the field and Ponder took advantage. Marlee Moynagh led the surge while Kassi Ballard converted a three-point play after Wells drilled a three-pointer and the Lady Lions extended their lead to 29-16 at the break.

Ponder jumped out to a quick advantage with the first two baskets of the game but Pottsboro tied the game at four and then went ahead on a Fellinger three-pointer from the right wing in the middle of the frame.

The Lady Cardinals held the lead until connected from deep at the top of the key in the final minute but Simpson answered with a three from the left side with 39 seconds to go in the quarter and Pottsboro held a 13-11 advantage.

Area Round

Class 3A Region II

Ponder                    60

Pottsboro                45