Stratford’s fast start too much for Lockney

By Lance Lahnert

Now that’s the way to start a playoff game.

No. 18 Stratford bolted out to a 19-0 lead opening the game, nine of the points scored from inside by junior Allie James, and used the fast start to cruise past scrappy Lockney 70-40 in a Class 2A girls area playoff at the Tascosa High Activity Center.

While Lockney did show its three-point prowess early in the minutes of the second quarter making four treys in the opening 3:11 and whittling the lead down to eight, this was Stratford’s game because of the start.

“We have don’t have a lot of gold ball experience with this group and to get that start is exactly what we wanted,” said Stratford coach Tanner Martin. “I wish we would have defended a little better throughout the game.”

Stratford, who generally sticks with five players throughout the game, produced the fast start thanks forcing eight turnovers out of Lockney before guard Reagan Nuncio scored the Lady Horns first points with 58 seconds remaining in the opening eight minutes.

By that time Stratford led 17-0 finding James in the paint for nine points in the opening four minutes.

“We had a few jitters to open with but that’s what makes Stratford so good,” said Lockney coach Adrian Alfaro, his team finishing the season at 14-15. “We knew we had to contain No. 3 (Laynee Burr), but then No. 11 (James) does that to us. You can’t just focus on one player.

“I was proud of my girls for hanging in there and not quitting. We were picked last in our district.”

Lockney did show why it opened eyes in district with a 55-52 upset win over Post. Lockney’s Nuncio and Alyssa Barretero combined to score 11 points in less than 3½ minutes on bombs away shooting over the Stratford zone. The flurry of points cut Stratford’s lead to 21-13 with 4:49 to play in the first half.

But Burr answered quickly with a basket, then James scored again, and when Shaylee Audrain and Nicolle Law buried a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute, Stratford led comfy at half 33-21.

Lockney did not cut Stratford’s lead under double digits in the second half.

Nuncio led Lockney with 19 points, while Barretero scored all 11 of her points in the second quarter.

Stratford had four players score all its points with junior Burr a thorn in Lockney’s side all game long scoring from the outside as well on drives to the basket. Burr finished with a game-high 28 points. Audrain made a trio of 3-pointers and scored  20 points, while James rounded out the Lady Elks’ double digit scoring with 17 points.

“We feel what makes us an OK team is we can score from any spot and it opens up whatever we want,” Martin said. “That’s what we were able to do early.”

(SSN adjusted the scoring above to reflect what we showed in our stats)