GAINESVILLE — After opening the playoffs with a close victory, ultimately needing overtime to advance, Howe looked like it was going to be in another battle against Alvord. With the score tied after a quarter and neither team ready to seize advantage, the fight was going to be on for a spot in the third round.
But Alvord used strong starts to both the second and third quarters to pull away for a 63-29 victory over Howe in a Class 2A Region II area round game on Friday night.
Alvord will face Sunnyvale, the District 12-2A champion, next.
It was a tough finish for Howe (16-11), which graduated a large core of last year’s district champions but went on to repeat in 11-2A, sharing the crown with Pottsboro and earning the top seed for the postseason on a coin flip.
“We’ll reload, come back and get after it again next year,” Howe head coach Derek Lands said.
Ma-rissa Schedcik scored 24 points — 18 in the second half — and Katie Claborn hit four 3-pointers as part of 16 points for Alvord, which forced 14 first-half turnovers and held Howe to seven points or fewer in each of the final three quarters.
Riley Harvey had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Darci Foster added seven points for Howe, which started the second quarter cold from the field and Alvord took control of the game.
A 10-0 run by Alvord, including 3-pointers from Claborn and Bailey Hamilton, put Howe behind by double-digits. Makenzie Duffee ended the four-minute drought with a corner 3-pointer but a basket by Harvey was the only other Howe scoring and Alvord had a 31-15 lead at halftime.
Any chance of a comeback ended when Alvord scored the first 11 points in the second half. Claborn led the charge with a pair of 3s and a steal and layin before Hamilton’s jumper with 3:16 left on the clock put Alvord up 42-15.
Howe, which hit just 12 shots in the game, managed seven points in each of the final two quarters, going scoreless the final 5:17 with Schedcik and Lauren Hart capping the victory with back-to-back three-point plays.
The final three quarters were nothing like the early action.
Alvord scored the first four points of the game but Howe tied the score at six on a Foster follow with just over two minutes left in the first quarter and the back-to-back baskets by Harvey and Morgan Carney gave Howe a four-point advantage.
The lead was short-lived as Schedcik made two free throws and then Breanna Ponder scored underneath to pull Alvord even after eight minutes.