Ponder used a three-headed scoring monster of seniors posts Josh Peterson and Clay Morgan, along with freshman guard Chase Harris to score a 51-47 win over Aransas Pass in the Class 2A state semifinal.
In fact, until the beginning of the fourth quarter when point guard Brady Anderson (eight assists) scored his only two points of the game, no one other than those three had scored. As it turned out, the trio combined for all but three of Ponder’s points.
Ponder head coach Jude Stanley, whose team will go for its fifth state championship in program history on Saturday afternoon against Tatum, said that will change in the state championship game.
“It makes it very difficult to defend when you have guys that can put the ball in the basket,” Stanley said. “If they’re gonna double- and triple-team Clay, which some try to do, then Josh will get a chance to score. Also Chase opens things up from the outside and that stretches the game out. I think tomorrow you’ll probably see some more guys put the ball in the basket. We had some nerves today. It doesn’t matter though, we just wanted the W.”
As for that 2A final against second-ranked Tatum, No. 4 Ponder will have its hands full with the Eagles’ up-tempo, full-court pressure, which is also known as “94 feet of hell.”
Follow the jump for a look at how the teams match up.
CLASS 2A FINAL
Ponder vs. Tatum
1:30 p.m. today, Frank Erwin Center, Austin
Previous titles: 4 (2001, 2008, 2009, 2010) in seven previous appearances
Semifinal: def. Aransas Pass, 51-47
Key players: G Chase Harris (20 points, five 3-pointers, seven rebounds in semifinal); F Clay Morgan (15 points, 11 rebounds); C Josh Peterson (13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, four blocks)
Notable: The Lions’ senior class was in eighth grade when Ponder won its third straight state championship in 2010. … Morgan needs 18 points to reach 2,000 for his career. … Aransas Pass came in averaging 75 points per game in the playoffs, but Ponder’s defense held the Panthers to 31.6 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
Previous titles: None in two previous appearances
Semifinal: def. Bushland, 58-41
Key players: G Chaston Brooks (15 points in semifinal); G Martin Williams (12 points, two 3-pointers); G Robbie Rockwell (10 points, six rebounds).
Notable: Tatum has now reached the title game in all three of its trips to state, but it lost in the final the previous two times. … Klifton Willis provided a spark off the bench against Bushland with nine points and 10 rebounds. … Tatum runs a full-court, man-to-man pressure defense almost exclusively.
Adam Boedeker, staff reports