A Lady Bulldog basketball season, one that certainly exceeded this writer’s expectations, came to a disappointing end in Gainesville on Valentine’s Day as Alvord beat Howe, 63-29, in a Region II, area round contest on Feb. 14.
Alvord, a team that finished third in North Texas’ strongest Class 2A girls basketball district, had the two elements most needed to succeed — a distributor and a scorer, and both are seniors.
Senior wing Marissa Schedcik and guard Lauren Hart, a deceptively quick 5-5 point guard, got their team off to a 4-0 start and Howe coach Derek Lands called an early timeout. The Howe Lady Bulldogs (both teams share the nickname) responded with a 6-0 run as Riley Harvey and Aurian James scored from the paint. Darci Foster grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck it back to give Howe a 6-4 lead.
Schedcik, who ended the night with 24 points, 18 in the second half, scored two from the free-throw line to tie the game at 6-all.
Harvey scored on a drive down the lane and Morgan Carney put back an offensive rebound to keep the teams deadlocked at 10-10 at the end of the first period.
Alvord turned up the defensive pressure in the second period and stymied the Howe attack. It also showed some range from the perimeter, knocking down three 3-pointers as it outscored Howe
21-5 in the second quarter.
Makenzie Duffee sent in a 3-ball from the visitors side of the court midway through the period and Harvey scored off of an inbounds play beneath the Howe basket, but the Alvord defense was making everything else difficult for Howe’s leading player. Harvey, who finished with 11 points for the night, was being defended by Schedcik for most of the game with help from the top from Hart.
Alvord came out red-hot for the second half, going on an 11-0 run to start the period. Katie Claborn had a pair of 3-pointers in that run and she finished with 16 points for the contest. Alissa Smith, who had been held scoreless in the first half, grabbed a rebound and took it the length of the court for a lay-in to stop the Alvord run.
Smith scored for Howe to open the fourth, and Foster sent in a 3-pointer from the right side. Foster scored again, but with just over five minutes left those turned out to be the final Howe points of the night.
Alvord will advance to play District 12-2A winner Sunnyvale, the state’s No. 1-ranked Class 2A team. Sunnyvale had a scare in its area round win as Paradise, which finished ahead of Alvord in District 9-2A,
wilted in the fourth quarter in a 49-41 loss. The District 9-2A winner was Brock, the state’s No. 2 team.
For Howe, it’s a bittersweet end to a season filled with accomplishments. With four new starters in the lineup, the Lady Bulldogs won a share of their second consecutive district championship, got those four newcomers 28 games of basketball knowledge and gave coach Derek Lands his 300th win in a storied high school coaching career.