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Tough Ending to Lions Basketball Run

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Tough Ending to Lions Basketball Run

Hayden Simmons, Sports reporter

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In the bi-district playoff round, your top seeded Ponder Lions took on the 4th seeded Leonard Tigers. The heavily favored Lions made a big run to begin the game and jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the 1st quarter. In the second, the momentum slowed and the tables turned as Leonard fought back to make it 23-17 going into the half following a last second heave from well beyond half court. After a difference-making halftime speech by coach Stanley, the Lions stomped the gas pedal in the third and opened up a 48-24 lead heading into the 4th. It was smooth sailing after that as the Lions closed out the Tigers 66-33 and got all 15 players into the game. Senior Dean Akins led the team in scoring with 18 points and also added 5 rebounds. Seniors Tye Schluter and Blake Gibson also added 12 points each, with Blake grabbing 10 rebounds as well. The Lions geared up for a tough Area matchup against Kemp.

In the Area round of the playoffs, the Lions took on a 2nd seeded Kemp team, whom they knocked out of the playoffs in last year’s area round. It was a back and forth 1st quarter, ending in an 11-11 tie. In the 2nd, the Lions found a bit of a groove and took a 24-20 lead into halftime. The Lions then made a big run to open the 2nd half, breaking open a 9 point lead. However, a Kemp timeout put a halt to the run and the game was again back and forth. Going into the 4th the Lions held onto a 36-32 lead. In the 4th, things started to fall apart. Dean Akins, the teams leading scorer in the first round, fouled out with over 4 minutes to play. The Lions then struggled to score in the 4th and got outscored 21-8 in the 4th. The Lions season came to an end by the score of 53-44. District MVP and senior Tye Schluter led the team in scoring one last time with 14 points. Senior Blake Gibson added 12 and senior Rylan Waldo added 8. The Lions will graduate one of their best groups ever, with 9 seniors finishing up their careers with a fantastic season.

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