Richland overcomes Northwest star’s big night

Posted Friday, Jan. 31, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Everywhere Richland looked, Justin Northwest senior Taylor Johnson was there.

Johnson kept the Texans in Friday night’s District 4-5A game by scoring 35 points, but it wasn’t enough as Richland (16-9, 7-4) held him scoreless in the third quarter on the way to a 72-63 victory.

Richland’s victory evens the season series between the teams and gives it a three-game cushion over Southlake Carroll and Keller Timber Creek for a playoff spot with three games left.

“We talked about driving to the basket more and making them have to try and stay in front of us and guard us,” Richland coach Richard Bacon said. “We aren’t just shooting for that fourth spot, we still have a chance to get second or third, and we think if we get in, we’re one of the most dangerous teams out there.”

Derrick Rice scored eight of his 16 points in the third quarter, including six during a 10-3 run that turned a 38-38 game into a 48-41 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Richland spread the floor, forcing Northwest to extend its defense and get good looks at the basket.

The Rebels made 14 of 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Northwest (21-6, 8-3) closed the gap to five at 63-58 with 1:56 to play on a Johnson basket and free throw, but couldn’t get any closer. Johnson scored 15 of his team’s 22 fourth- quarter points.

“We talked at the half about staying down and not letting him ball fake so much,” Bacon said. “He’s a great player and we let him get too comfortable in the first half and we wanted to make sure we didn’t do that in the second half.”

Johnson controlled the first half for the Texans as he scored 20 of their 28 points. On the four baskets he didn’t score, he had assists on two of them.

He did it from all parts of the floor as he made two 3-pointers, four 2-pointers and went 6 of 6 from the line.

Richland jumped to a 5-0 lead and got into the bonus with 3:07 left in the first quarter as Tim Priller caused the Texans some problems inside. He finished the first half with nine points and the game with a team-high 18. Zac Graves added 16 for the Rebels.

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