Boys Basketball Insider: North Crowley playing survivor this season

Posted Monday, Jan. 20, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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There’s something different being discussed around North Crowley’s basketball gym this season.

Usually this time of year would be reserved for factoring the chances of adding a 12th district title, in 15 years, to the trophy case.

Right now, coach Tommy Brakel is talking about consistency and making the playoffs.

“We haven’t dealt with this at North Crowley,” he said. “We just haven’t taken the rock to the hole this season like we have in years past. We’ve been awful as far as shooting percentage from the field.”

Perhaps last week the Panthers (12-8, 4-3 in District 3-5A) finally found their rhythm.

Point guard Caleb Banks came up with the game-winning shot at the buzzer to lift North Crowley over upstart Fort Worth Paschal last Tuesday.

With another blowout win Friday over Arlington, it’s added up to serious momentum entering a defining stretch.

North Crowley will get Arlington Lamar on Tuesday, a team the Panthers lost to 53-51 in the first half of district play, then travel Friday to Arlington Sam Houston.

“We’ve never really talked about wins in terms of needing them to get a playoff spot,” Brakel said. “Usually we’re talking about those to get a district title, but we need to play well Tuesday against Lamar.”

For Banks, Brakel said it’s been trying on the senior’s patience.

While Banks has been with the varsity the last three years, the program is 92-19. He’s averaged 11.9 points and 4.5 assists per game this season.

But it’s hardly been the kind of success that the veteran and other North Crowley teams have had.

Still, with Tommy Sing scoring 11.0 points per game and freshman Jordon Myers averaging 9.4, the Panthers seem to be hitting stride.

“We’ve talked about a different philosophy for this team, maybe playing different than we have in the past,” Brakel said. “Sometimes when you have this kind of trouble, the locker room gets to be a tough place to be in.”

Helping to quell that has been senior Greg Roy. The 6-foot-4 forward is first on the team in field-goal percentage, second in rebounding and acts as a sounding board for younger players.

Past rough patch?

Despite rising to No. 17 in the TABC Class 5A state poll, Arlington Bowie wasn’t quite right before reeling off two wins last week to stay in control and unbeaten in District 3-5A.

The Volunteers (18-3, 7-0) hung on to beat both Lamar and Sam Houston by just two points each, leaving open the possibility that Bowie wasn’t as strong as believed.

“We didn’t play well against them at all,” coach Allen Gratts said. “But we had two really good practices leading up to the Martin game and I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

The practices proved fruitful as Dante Hales’ put-back at the buzzergave Bowie a 55-53 win over Arlington Martin on Friday.

Keller gets to top

With a big win over Justin Northwest, Keller worked into a three-way tie for first place in District 4-5A.

That was before Keller Fossil Ridge sent the Texans to their first two-game skid of the season with a 65-64 win Friday night.

That means Keller and Fossil Ridge sit atop the district with 6-1 records, followed closely by Northwest and Richland just a game back.

The district title is certainly up for grabs, and includes possibly Southlake Carroll, which has reeled off three wins to get to 3-4.

“It’s been like this for a couple of years now and it doesn’t seem like this district gets much respect until the playoffs,” Keller coach Randall Durant said. “For us, we’re young so it’s a bit unexpected. We played eight players against Northwest and we struggled against Richland’s press. It’s all about growing up and getting a handle on it early to get an advantage.”

Saginaw riding quiet

Tyler Flores is averaging 12.8 points and Arique Moss 10.9 for the Saginaw Rough Riders (12-5) as they cruise along quietly in third place of District 6-4A.

Moss, a 6-3 forward, also leads the team in rebounding with 5.4 per game, and adds 2.3 assists.

“I don’t feel like we’re flying under the radar anymore,” Saginaw coach Brent Craft said. “This is a tough district and every team knows what’s at stake when they play us.”

Saginaw has Tuesday off before resuming district play Friday against Chisholm Trail.

Syntrell Greer also averages in double figures at 10.5 per game.

Pirates stay afloat

Granbury is on a three-game winning streak but its playoff chances depend on a better second half to the district schedule.

Coach David Brazile said the formula for success isn’t “rocket science,” considering how many close games Granbury (9-12, 4-3) has lost.

“We played some really good teams close this season,” he said. “But getting close doesn’t do much for confidence; the kids have got to see some wins.”

Clay Brawner and Jacob Taylor lead the team in scoring, averaging 12 points per game. Brawner had a season-high 25 points in a two-point loss to Kennedale earlier this season.

Brawner also averages 5.5 assists.

“For us, it’s just getting those stops and then finding a way to hit some big shots in the clutch,” Brazile said.

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Game of the week

Rank Team Win/loss Previous
1. Cedar Hill 17-2 -
2. North Crowley 15-5 -
3. Duncanville 15-4 -
4. Richland 13-3 -
5. South Grand Prairie 14-4 -
6. Colleyville Heritage 14-5 -
7. Justin Northwest 17-4 -
8. Arlington 14-7 -
9. Coppell 15-5 -
10. Arlington Lamar 12-6 -
Week 8 (01/03/2011-01/09/2011)
Rank Team Win/loss Previous
1. Mansfield Summit 14-6 -
2. Grace Prep 14-5 -
3. FW Arlington Heights 12-2 -
4. FW Trimble Tech 17-3 -
5. Azle 13-3 -
6. Crowley 11-8 -
7. Everman 14-4 -
8. Kennedale 10-1 -
9. FW Southwest 11-8 -
10. Nolan Catholic 10-5
Week 8 (01/03/2011-01/09/2011)