PRAGUE—District champs. The Prague Lady Red Devils and Red Devils advanced into next week’s regional basketball tournament by exterminating Alva, Friday night. Prague held on to win 45-43 against the Ladybugs before the Red Devils came away with a 55-45 victory.
In the opener, the Lady Red Devils used the long ball to gain the first-half advantage. They led 15-8 after the first quarter and took a 29-23 lead into the half. Prague hit seven treys in the half. Jaycee Johnson hit three of them while Chloe McClendon and Taylor Hodges each hit two.
The third quarter was a different story. Prague went ice cold and scored just one hoop in the eight-minute quarter. Diana Manning scored the lone bucket for the Lady Red Devils. The Ladybugs, as they did all night, relied on the play of Payton Jones. Jones scored six of her 12 points in the third.
Alva led 32-31 heading into the final quarter, but Prague was not done.
The Lady Red Devils trailed 37-35 at the 3:33 mark on a trey by Chloe Durkee, but then turned up the heat on defense.
Prague forced back-to-back turnovers, the first leading to a Hodges’ three-pointer, then Hodges stole a pass and drove in for the layup with 3:01 left to play. Prague led 40-37 and never trailed again. They maintained a four-point lead in the final minutes to capture the championship. Alva’s Acacia Charles hit a bucket at the buzzer to take the margin a victory to two points.
Hodges led all scorers with 15, and Johnson netted nine. All of Johnson’s points came from behind the arc. McClendon added eight.
Jones and Charles led the charge for the Ladybugs with a dozen apiece.
In the nightcap, the Red Devils took control of the game in the second quarter, and Isaac Bloomer had a huge hand in it. Bloomer scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, including back-to-back treys in the opening quarter.
The Red Devils led 15-14 after the first quarter but extended the lead to 27-20 by half’s end. Prague kept Alva at bay for most of the second half, but on two occasions the Goldbugs cut the deficit to five points.
Enter Brady Thorpe. On each occasion, the first with 1:48 left in the third and on the other, at the 3:33 mark of the fourth, Thorpe drained three pointers to give Prague breathing room to close out the win.
Thorpe finished with 10 points.
Prague’s biggest lead came with 2:10 left to play when Brayden McGinnis drove down the lane for an old-fashioned three-point play. The Red Devils led 53-42 then cruised to the win.
Along with Bloomer and Thorpe, Zadden Jones joined the pair in double figures with 14 points. Jones was solid in the lane all night against the Goldbugs.
Donald Blalock led the Goldbugs with 12 points and Mitchell Meyer added nine.
The Red Devils improve to 18-6 on the season and will head to Chisolm next Thursday night. They will face the winner of the Chisolm-Blackwell match-up at 8 o’clock.
The Lady Red Devils will also face the winner of Chisolm-Blackwell next Thursday, with the tip slated for 6:30 p.m. The Lady Red Devils enter the regional tournament with a 17-7 record.