KELLER -- Keller Fossil Ridge, arguably the hottest team in District 4-5A, is not going to the playoffs.
The Panthers' dominant 61-49 victory over Justin Northwest on Tuesday night was not enough to prolong their season after Southlake Carroll wrapped up the district's final playoff spot.
It was an abrupt and disappointing end to the season for Fossil Ridge (17-16, 7-7), which took control of Tuesday's game early and didn't let up on the Texans (17-14, 8-6).
Northwest and Carroll tied for the final two playoff spots and will meet at a time and location to be determined to decide seeding.
"Sure, we're disappointed," Fossil Ridge coach Zack Myers said. "I feel like we're playing our best basketball now. But I'm proud of these kids. When you start district at 2-6, it would be easy to pack up and quit. But our kids battled back and had a chance at the end."
Angel Rodriguez sparked Fossil Ridge early Tuesday with back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup as the Panthers went on a 12-1 run to grab a 20-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Northwest closed the gap to 27-20 by halftime, but then let Fossil Ridge get loose with a fast-break offense. The Panthers continued to work the ball inside, where Ryan Parker (13 points) and Travis Gray (10 points) often finished. Rodriguez finished with 11 points.
The Texans fought back late, cutting the deficit to 46-35, but could not get any closer. Casey Jimison and Todd Christensen had 11 points each for Northwest.
"This is the kind of basketball I envisioned this team would play," said Myers, whose team loses just two seniors. "We're definitely a work in progress."
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