PONDER — It’s way too soon to be crowning anyone a district champion. But given the way Ponder is playing right now, the Lady Lions could be setting themselves up for an easy waltz to the finish line in District 9-3A.
Ponder, which has never won a district title despite its latest run of playoff success under head coach Stormi Snider, blew visiting Whitesboro out of the gym Tuesday in a 25-10, 25-11, 25-13 win. The win keeps Ponder (20-12 overall) unbeaten through the first two games of district play.
“Overall, I think we did really well,” Snider said. “We have been working on a bunch of stuff lately, and one thing I was proud of was that we definitely didn’t go down to [Whitesboro’s] level, which we are capable of doing at times.”
Ponder got a little bit of something from everyone Tuesday. Gracie Perryman led with 12 kills and four service aces, but Harper Mulkey added six and Sterling Wilkinson chipped in five in her first game back from a concussion. Kylee Anderson had 16 digs and Averee Tipton poured in 29 assists.
As a team, Ponder racked up nine aces.
Ponder’s effort was also helped out by the fact that Whitesboro continually shot itself in the foot, especially early on as Ponder jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening set courtesy of five straight hitting errors. Whitesboro trimmed the deficit to 6-4, but the Lady Lions closed the frame with a 13-2 run.
It was more of the same in the second set, as Whitesboro’s slim two-point lead early on vanished as Perryman recorded a kill and an ace on back-to-back plays to kick-start a 10-3 Ponder rally.
Ponder led 12-8 a few minutes later when it rattled off an even more impressive 11-1 run to extend its lead to 14.
Up 2-0 in the match, Ponder found itself clinging to a five-point lead when it closed the match with seven straight points.
“We are constantly telling them to keep pushing — all the way to 25.”
As for winning a district title, Snider admitted it would be a high point for the program.
“I think it’s going to come down to us, Gunter and Pilot Point, but we’ll see,” Snider said. “We’re figuring a lot of things out at the right time.”