TOLAR – The Lipan Indians celebrated their return to the playoffs with a 74-49 thumping of Walnut Springs in their Class A Division II bidistrict basketball game Monday at Tolar High School.
The Indians missed the playoffs in 2013, their first vacation from the postseason in a couple decades.
The victory moved the Indians (14-15) into an area-round matchup against Coolidge (24-1). The District 19-A champions are ranked 13th in the state.
“It seemed like more than a year,” said Lipan coach Cody Chandler.
“I think what makes this a little more special is this group of seniors, for them to get to have their success, get back to that tradition, is really nice. They can say we’re the first team to get that next run going.”
Speaking of running, that’s what the Indians (14-15) did from the outset Monday, scoring the game’s first eight points and leading 21-3 early in the second quarter.
Walnut Springs (15-10) closed the gap to 34-22 as Tony Chavez made a midcourt shot at the halftime buzzer.
An 18-0 run put Lipan up 54-25 late in the third quarter. Walnut Springs got no closer than 18 the rest of the game.
“Our starters were very bad matchups for them,” said Chandler.
Walnut Springs attempted more shots from 3-point range (37) than from 2-point range (31). They made eight of each, a total of 24 percent.
While Walnut Springs only had nine turnovers, they could not find consistently good shots. They missed 19 of 20 shots in the first quarter and missed 16 consecutive shots in the third quarter.
Chandler said the experience of being in District 17-A with state-ranked Huckabay (14) and Lingleville (15), both of whom spent most of the season in the top 10, helped his squad prepare for the postseason. In four meetings (two with each team), the Indians were in position to win each time before losing close contests.
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Class A Division II Bidistrict
at Tolar High School
Walnut Springs 3 19 8 19 – 49
Lipan 17 17 20 20 – 74
Lipan (14-15) scoring – Trevor Hedeman 19, Lance Ferguson 17, Derrick Cook 15, Jorge Hernandez 10, Joel Rice 8, Joey McFadden 2, Brady Nelson 2, Tanden Foust 1.
Lipan 3-pointers – Hedeman 1, Ferguson 1.
Lipan rebound leaders – Ferguson 16, Cook 14.
Lipan assists leader – McFadden 4.
2-point FG – Lipan 23-36 (64 percent). WS 8-31 (26 percent).
3-point FG – Lipan 2-12 (17 percent). WS 8-38 (22 percent).
Free throws – Lipan 22-29 (76 percent). WS 9-23 (39 percent).
Total rebounds – Lipan 52 (7 offensive). WS 35 (15 offensive).
Turnovers – Lipan 15. WS 9.