HALTOM CITY — North Crowley was taken to the brink before finally putting away Northwest 53-47 in their bi-district playoff meeting Monday at Thomas Coliseum.
The Panthers, champions of District 3-5A, found themselves tied with Northwest, the fourth seed from District 4-5A, with just over four minutes remaining, but went on a 6-0 run in the next minute-plus to finally end the Texans threat.
Weve played tough games all year long, North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel said. Weve played 18 games this year that have been decided by five points or less, three overtime games, several games that have been decided on a shot at the buzzer, so this team, at least they have experience playing in tight games.
Northwest (17-15) got off to just the start they wanted. Elijah Christman, who led all scorers with 17 points, converted a three-point play to give the Texans a 7-0 early lead. But North Crowley (27-7) got a three-pointer from Jalan McCloud at the end of the first period to pull within 11-9.
The Panthers led 19-18 at halftime, and several times in the second half it looked like North Crowley might pull away, but Northwest would always answer.
We werent afraid and our kids came out and took it to them, Texans coach Mike Hatch said. We said we needed to be very aggressive from the beginning, we wanted to dictate the tempo of the game and I thought we did a great job of that.
Northwest is very well coached, Brakel said. We knew they were going to slow the game down and they knew we were going to try to speed it back up.
McCloud led the Panthers with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and Caleb Banks scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter to help North Crowley hold off the Texans. Kevin Simmons added nine for the Panthers.
David Ogunwolu had nine points for the Texans, while Michael Healer added seven.
North Crowley will next face the winner of Tuesday nights matchup of Lubbock Coronado and El Paso Montwood.
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