SOUTHLAKE -- Southlake Carroll's girls team is one step closer to a district title.
But the Dragons sure made things interesting, holding off a ferocious comeback to defeat upset-minded Keller 49-44 at Dragons Gym.
"What can I say, it's a district rivalry and they've got a good team," Carroll coach Teri Morrison said. "I'm not sure what we were doing in the third quarter, but we got away from our defense and started taking shots we don't take."
The win gives Carroll a two-game cushion and the tiebreaker on Keller for the District 4-5A title. Richland, which split games with Carroll this season, needs the Dragons to lose one of their final two games to have an outside shot.
Southlake (19-9, 11-1 in 4-5A) was cruising at the start, forcing nine first half-turnovers, but blew a lead that had swelled to as much as 15 points.
Carroll went cold in the third quarter, not scoring for the first seven minutes.
That allowed Keller's Rani Parkinson to drop in 11 of her game-high 17 points and help the Indians (18-13, 9-3) cut the lead to three in the third quarter.
Parkinson's 3-pointer at the 2:25 mark of the fourth knotted the score at 42-42 before Carroll guard Kami Mickens found Savannah Nauwelaers on a backdoor cut.
Her easy layup allowed Carroll to regain the lead. The Dragons hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
"I was proud of the way they came back," Keller coach Doug Sporrer said. "We really challenged them in the second half and looked to our zone to keep us in the game. We just came up short."
Mickens had 13 points and Kennedy Leonard had 12 to pace Carroll as the Dragons seemed to have all the right first-half answers.
Leonard had eight points in Carroll's 16-7 run that put Keller in an early hole.
"When you do that against a team like Southlake, it's going to make it much harder to win," Sporrer said.
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