ENID, Okla. —
THOMAS 60, ALVA 54 (B)
Chezden Nease scored 20 points and Justin Miller added 17 as unranked Thomas-Fay-Custer snapped Alva’s 22-game win streak and brought the Goldbugs within a loss of elimination, punching its own ticket to the 2A State Tournament along the way with a 60-54 win Saturday in the Area 1 final at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center.
Thomas shot 63 percent from the floor — four for five from three — in the second half and Alva couldn’t keep pace late in a back-and-forth fourth quarter that had four lead changes until Nease’s three with less than 1:30 left extended a one-point Terrier lead to 54-50.
Cade Pfleider scored on the next trip to pull Alva within 54-52, but the Goldbugs never could retake the lead as Thomas hit five of seven free throws in the final stretch to stay ahead.
“They were better prepared to play than we were,” Alva coach Paul Duncan said. “(Thomas coach) Jim (Petree) does an outstanding job, and he probably got me today. They shot the ball really well, so hats off to their kids.”
Thomas led for most of the second quarter and all of the third after outscoring Alva 17-8 on five second-quarter threes. But Reygan Martin banked in a three at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the Thomas lead to 42-40 entering the final quarter, and a Trevor Johnson three with 4:4- left in the game gave Alva its first lead since the start of the second at 48-47.
“One more stop and one more bucket, and I think we could have taken control,” Duncan said. “We couldn’t get that one more shot to fall. We had a couple shots to take the lead, and they made theirs. They made their free throws, and we missed a couple, and that’s the way it rolls.”
Thomas and Alva traded leads twice before Martin missed the front end of a one-and-one that led to Nease’s three to put the Terriers up 54-50.
“We just had to weather the storm,” Nease said. “They hit a bunch of good shots, hard shots. We just had to weather the storm and keep taking good shots.”
Alva, which averages eight turnovers a game, surrendered as many in the first half alone, six of them in the second quarter as Thomas took control.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” Duncan said. “If we do that again Monday, we’ll get beat again.”
Trent Dunaway added 13 including three threes, and Hayden Herrera scored six off the bench for Thomas (20-6), which secured its first state berth since 2010.
Martin finished with 12 and two steals, Pfleider had 12 points, two steals and seven rebounds for Alva, which plays Merritt for the consolation title and a state berth 8 p.m. Monday at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center. Merritt beat Crescent 58-45 on Saturday.
“We haven’t had (a loss) since Dec. 4, so this is new territory, uncharted territory,” Duncan said. “We’ll find out (how they handle it) on Monday. We’re just excited to have another chance to play.”