KELLER — Nolan Taylor scored 13 of his game-high 18 points to help power Keller past Justin Northwest, 51-46, in a hard-fought District 4-5A matchup Friday night at Keller High School.
The victory kept the Indians (21-5, 11-2) tied atop the District 4-5A standings with Keller Fossil Ridge (20-7, 11-2). Each team has one district game remaining.
Keller plays last-place Keller Central on Tuesday, Fossil Ridge plays Northwest (22-7, 9-4).
Through the first three quarters, neither team led by more than five points.
Northwest took a 34-31 advantage into the fourth period, but Keller scored the first eight points of the final quarter.
Taylor’s three-point play gave the Indians a 37-34 lead — their first since early in the second quarter — and they held off the Texans the rest of the way.
“It was a very important win for us,” Taylor said. “I knew it was going to be a hard game. It wouldn’t have been anything else but a hard game.”
Brock Anders added 12 points and Kyle Tanner chipped in with 11 for Keller, and both hit key free throws down the stretch to keep Northwest at arm’s length. The Texans cut the lead to three points inside a minute to play.
“We talk about mental toughness,” Keller coach Randall Durant said. “Everything we do in practice is for that situation at the end. Our focus is always on that last-possession type situation.”
Taylor Johnson paced Northwest with 13 points, eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. Josh Tatum contributed 12 for the Texans, who have already clinched a playoff berth.
Keller will be the first or second seed from District 4-5A, and Durant feels games such as this one will have the Indians battle-tested for the postseason.
“That’s playoff-type intensity right there,” he said. “In our district, it’s like that every night. We’re pretty young and they’re getting experience doing this, so hopefully that will pay off.”
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