ARGYLE — In more ways than one, Ponder let a victory in its Denton Summer Shootout opener against Team Flight slip away on Friday night.
After Calvin Redfern hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to pull Ponder within three, Ponder got the ball back off a turnover with a chance to tie the game up. However, Ponder could not get off a shot from the perimeter, instead drawing a foul with just three seconds left to help Team Flight hang on for a 36-34 win.
Redfern, who led the way for Ponder with 11 points and five rebounds, made one of his two free throws from the foul on Team Flight's Codie Blaine, his fifth.
But it was also a shaky performance from the free-throw line that contributed to Ponder's loss, as it shot just 45 percent (10-of-22) from the stripe, while Team Flight was just 2-of-9.
“I was pretty pleased, but they just didn't play aggressive enough,” Ponder head coach Richard McPherson said of his team. “The foul count was way up — we only had three fouls in the last two or three minutes and that tells me we're not aggressive enough. … That's off-season basketball, our shots being off.”
Ponder trailed for the majority of the first half of the 11th-12th-grade pool play game after taking the early lead on a Scott Lambert layup. With the help of some red-hot shooting early on, Team Flight, made up of players from schools across the Dallas/Fort Worth area, took the lead and extended it to as many as nine points three times in the first 20 minutes of play.
Ponder cut the lead to six at the half after a Redfern jumper made it 22-16 with 2:49 to go and that score held up until the intermission.
But after trading buckets with Team Flight to start the second half, Ponder went on an 11-0 run to take a 29-24 lead with 9:56 to play, holding its opponent scoreless for nearly 10 minutes of running game clock.
“Getting our block-outs had a lot to do with it,” Redfern said of the run. “We hustled a whole lot more. We tried to grab more for the ball and play tougher defense. We made a competitive finish, but we needed to come out on top to get ready for the rest of the tournament.”
Team Flight flipped the script on Ponder, however, by scoring the next seven points of the game to take a 31-29 lead. Devin Teamer, who led Team Flight in scoring with 11 points of his own, buried a 3-pointer during that outburst.
Ponder tied the game on a pair of William Stanton free throws to end the run, but Blaine gave Team Flight the lead for good on a short jumper with 3:33 left.
Nathan McPherson added seven points and Stanton six for Ponder, which will look to rebound with an 11:15 a.m. game against the Lindsay (Okla.) Hurricanes at Argyle today. Ben Lewis led the way in rebounding for Team Flight, which plays the Kansas Players at 11:15 a.m. today at Argyle.
CHUCK COX can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Team Flight 36, Ponder 34
Team Flight 22 14 — 36
Ponder 16 18 — 34
Team Flight — Allen Williams 9, Devin Teamer 11, Ben Lewis 7, Codie Blaine 7, Jared Edwards 2.
Ponder — William Stanton 6, Joel Garza 2, Calvin Redfern 11, Jesus Lujan 3, Nathan McPherson 7, Dillan Ballard 3, Scott Lambert 2.