Keller Fossil Ridge outlasts Richland to clinch at least second in 4-5A

Posted Friday, Feb. 07, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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All Keller Fossil Ridge coach Zack Myers could do for most of the game was shake his head every time his team went to the free-throw line. Having made just seven of their first 19 attempts, the Panthers were deadlocked in a game that went back and forth.

But when it mattered most, his team sank 8 of 8 from the line to knock off Richland 57-50 and clinch no worse than the second seed out of District 4-5A. The Panthers (20-7, 11-2 in 4-5A) remain tied with Keller for first but were swept by the Indians in the season series.

Richland (17-10, 8-5), which plays seventh-place Haltom in its last game, remains one behind Northwest (22-7, 9-4), which meets Fossil Ridge on Tuesday.

“We’ve been in close games like this before where we have to go to the line and make them and we have. So I was pretty confident,” Myers said. “We made the plays when we had to. We have a lot of seniors who have been in this situation before, so that helps.”

The Panthers entered the fourth trailing by one and erased a three-point deficit on a 3 from Chris Kouakou, who finished with a game-high 20 points. It was Kouakou’s 3-pointer with 2:27 to go in the game that gave Fossil Ridge a one-point lead at 46-45 that it wouldn’t relinquish.

Richland missed three of its last four 3-pointers, only getting one from Tim Priller, who finished with a team-high 17 points, with 15.6 seconds to play.

“We knew it was going to be a battle of runs, and we were just fortunate we had the last one,” said Myers, whose team missed the playoffs by a game a year ago. “We wanted to make sure we finished in the top two, but we still have a lot to play for on Tuesday as we can be co-district champs.”

The Rebels, who trailed by three at the half, went on a 10-2 run to start the third quarter to open a 32-27 lead, their biggest of the night.

Fossil Ridge’s Cameron Montgomery finished with 19 points as the only other player for either team in double figures.

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