High School Insider: Richland boys focusing on strong finish in District 4-5A

Posted Monday, Feb. 10, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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The fight is already over in District 4-5A with the final games being played Tuesday.

Four teams are still standing, including Richland, but the bumps and bruises may remain long after the dust has settled.

What’s certain, though, is that top-to-bottom, the 4-5A vs. District 3-5A bi-district playoff games might be the most intriguing around.

Richland (17-10, 8-5), which still has an outside shot at a tie for third place with Justin Northwest (22-7, 9-4), has secured the final playoff spot but will not figure in the title picture. This despite beating Keller (21-5, 11-2), a team still in the title chase, twice in district play.

After starting the season 10-3 with big wins over South Grand Prairie and Dallas Madison, the Richland Rebels finished the season 7-7 over the final stretch.

Coach Richard Bacon said not only has his team grown during the process, but the district parity also has been incredibly good for high school basketball.

“On any given night, there’s no telling really,” he said. “This has been great for the fans; it’s been great in helping us mature. We told our kids after beating Keller again that the playoffs started now. They had to win every game going out.”

A Friday loss to Keller Fossil Ridge (20-7, 11-2), the other team looking for at least a share of the district title, snapped a three-game winning streak for the Rebels.

But with guard Hayden Hunter and swing forward Tim Priller at the helm, it’s been a season of not just offensive production but strong defense to boot.

Richland has lost four games by three points or fewer and has held opponents to 55.6 points per game this season.

Bacon said the biggest adjustment was not having the traditional headline player of past Rebels teams like Nolan Dennis or Leyton Hammonds.

“As far as standouts go, I think Tim Priller should be in the conversation,” Bacon said. “There are not many players his size that can make the adjustment from the inside to stepping out on the perimeter for us.”

Priller, a 6-foot-8 forward who has not committed to any college, is averaging 18.2 points per game and five rebounds. In district play, he’s averaging 21.4.

Hunter has recorded 14.4 points and 4.3 assists per game.

“The fact that everybody has shared the load this season has been enjoyable,” Bacon said. “There was one point this season where we didn’t win a game on a Tuesday in about six weeks. Once we beat Keller and knew the best we could finish was second, the kids seemed to relax and just play.”

Close battle in 5-4A

While Denton Guyer and Trophy Club Nelson battle for the District 5-4A title, three teams vie for two remaining playoff spots.

Among them is White Settlement Brewer (15-13, 7-6), which faces Guyer (17-9, 11-2) in Tuesday’s regular season finale.

It’s a tall order to slay Guyer, with the Bears having lost the first district matchup against the Wildcats 66-43. Still, Brewer will try to lock up one of the spots at home behind two standout performers: Momo Hamza, who is averaging 14.0 points per game, and forward Garrick Reynolds, averaging 13.3 points and three rebounds.

Brewer is tied with Denton (12-12, 7-6) and Wichita Falls (10-17, 7-6).

On Tuesday, Denton faces Nelson (22-6, 11-2), and Wichita Falls gets Wichita Falls Rider (16-13, 6-7).

Possible co-champs

Should both Guyer and Trophy Club Nelson finish tied for first place Tuesday, both would share the district title as co-champions, Nelson coach Scott Curran confirmed.

In District 3-5A, the tiebreaker happens Tuesday night as Arlington Martin heads to Arlington Bowie for a winner-take-all matchup.

Both teams are tied at 12-1 with Bowie having knocked off the Warriors during the first half of district play.

In 4-5A, should Keller and Keller Fossil Ridge wrap up with wins Tuesday, both will share the title as co-champions.

Keller would advance into the playoffs, though, as the top-seed, having beaten Fossil Ridge both times in district play.

The 6-4A race gets settled Tuesday when Dunbar travels to Birdville for the regular-season finale.

The Wildcats defeated Birdville during the first half of district play.

Sorting out 6-4A

Saginaw shook off a District 6-4A loss to Fort Worth Dunbar last week by defeating Fort Worth Carter-Riverside, guaranteeing at least a tie for fourth place and a playoff spot in the process.

If Saginaw (14-9, 9-6) and Fort Worth Polytechnic (12-12, 9-6) win on Tuesday, Polytechnic will clinch the final playoff spot, and the two will meet Friday to decide third place.

Saginaw is at home against eighth-place Fort Worth North Side, and Polytechnic meets sixth-place Saginaw Boswell at Billingsley Fieldhouse.

Fort Worth Eastern Hills still has a shot to get in. The Highlanders (14-12, 9-7) completed their regular season Saturday. If Saginaw and Polytechnic lose, it will create a three-team tie for two playoff spots.

Saginaw would get a bye in a three-team mini-tournament that would play out Thursday and Friday to award playoff seedings.

If Saginaw drops its final game and Polytechnic wins, Polytechnic is the third seed, and Saginaw advances as the fourth-place team by virtue of sweeping Eastern Hills in district play.

If Polytechnic loses and Saginaw wins Tuesday, Eastern Hills and Polytechnic would face off for the final postseason berth.

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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)