In a game that was intense and physical from start to finish, Justin Northwest's ability to hit critical free throws down the stretch allowed the Texans to hold off Southlake Carroll 52-45 for a key District 4-5A victory Friday.
Northwest (15-11, 6-3 District 4-5A), which had hit just 1 of 6 free throws in the first three periods, connected on 6 of 9 in the final quarter.
Elijah Christman and Heath Owens each stretched the lead back to three possessions in the final minute. Owens also found Casey Jimison alone under the basket after breaking the press at 1:30 remaining to fend off the Dragons (16-11, 5-4).
With both teams intent on defensive pressure, the teams combined for 36 fouls, 32 turnovers and one fan ejection.
Carroll pressed throughout. But Northwest got effective ballhandling from point guard Josh Tatum, who led the Texans with 12 points.
"The biggest key for us tonight was Josh," Northwest coach Mike Hatch said. "He has the capability of making plays when we get in trouble."
He added: "We wanted to come out tonight and dictate the tempo of the game. We wanted to make them work for their points."
A pair of 3-pointers from Jimison sparked the Texans to a 17-14 lead in the first quarter, and Northwest stretched that to 28-22 behind an eight-point first half from David Ogunwola. After the Dragons had cut the lead to 36-33 with 1:21 left in the third, Christman and Tatum sparked a 6-0 run to end the quarter leading 42-33, the Texans' largest lead.
Carroll, which was led by Daniel Brown's 15 points, missed three free throws down the stretch, including several one-and-ones. Brett Jolly, Carroll's 6-foot-10 center, had nine points, but was limited by Northwest's interior defense.
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