Southlake Carroll boys basketball coach Eric McDade insists the district race is a marathon, not a sprint.
After sprinting to a 22-8 fourth-quarter rally, the Dragons find themselves one game back in the District 4-5A standings after a 68-54 win over Keller Timber Creek.
Carroll fought back from an early nine-point deficit and squandered an 11-point lead of its own, but managed to turn its offense on when needed.
"That's just a testament to our kids," McDade said. "They never panicked or got concerned. They know it's a war in the district and everybody is going to make runs and stay in games."
The Dragons (16-9, 5-2 4-5A) fired off a 13-2 run through the 4:55 mark of the fourth quarter to start putting things away.
Carroll had four layups off back-door cuts, and Cole Partyka knocked down a back-breaking 3-pointer in that run.
It looked earlier as though Carroll was pulling away, building an 11-point lead with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
But Timber Creek (13-12, 3-4) staged a furious rally, and Manny Calton knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the score at 46-46.
Carroll also shook off a slow start, falling behind by eight to open the game.
Daniel Brown led Carroll with 19 points, and Partyka added 17. Calton led Timber Creek with 21.
"We've worked through just about every situation this season," Brown said. "We're used to keeping our composure and really working to keep the tempo at our pace."
Carroll rallied early despite shooting 24 percent in the first half. Timber Creek had six turnovers in the second quarter, and Carroll turned those into easy transition buckets and a 26-25 halftime lead.
"I'm just real pleased with our defense tonight," McDade said.
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