Fans may look at the Northwest boys basketball team’s impressive showing at the Whataburger Tournament that included blowout wins over Plano West and Richardson Berkner and wonder if they were watching a different team last Friday.
The Texans (16-3, 3-0 in District 4-5A) were in a fight with Keller Timber Creek and trailed 29-28 going into the fourth quarter. They had to grind out a 19-13 fourth quarter to pick up a 47-42.
Simply put, district games just take on a different feel than tournament or non-district games. Your opponent knows you and every move you make or could make. There’s more time to prepare. Playing on the road is hard. Playing on the road when your team is trying to make the playoffs is even harder.
Before Northwest played host to co-district leader Richland on Tuesday, the Texans had won two of their first three district games away from their home gym at Haltom and Timber Creek.
“There’s not going to be many blowouts,” coach Mike Hatch said. “The teams are more prepared than what they are for the tournament. The coaches know what we’re trying to do and are going to make it harder to score. In the tournaments, there’s not much turnaround time to prepare for teams.
“I told the guys after the game that a lot of these games are going to come down to taking care of the ball and making free throws. We have guys that are capable of doing both.”
Northwest continues to enjoy the best start under Hatch.
Winning the tight games
The Texans are 5-1 in games decided by seven points or less and have won the last five. They lost their first one to Allen, 66-60. And really, the 60-51 victory over Byron Nelson could fall into this category, because the game was pretty tight until the closing minutes when the Texans made their free throws to stretch out the victory.
“The thing is that our kids don’t panic and they stay the course,” Hatch said. “They’re very confident in what they’re doing.”
Here’s why. Northwest has a very impressive number of 13 assists to 9.5 turnovers per game. That’s a little better than 1-to-1, but the turnover average is pretty impressive. Usually a team averaging 12 turnovers per game is considered good.
Byron Nelson update
The Bobcats continued to grow last week in their 62-47 victory over Denton Guyer. The surprise contribution was guard Ethan Davis scoring 12 points.
“He plays well and could be a third scorer for us if we need him to be,” coach Scott Curran said. “Ethan has a good feel for the game and will take charges, dive on the floor and do the dirty work you need for your team.”
The Bobcats (14-5, 3-0 in 5-4A) began the week with a road trip to Wichita Falls on Tuesday and will play host to White Settlement Brewer on Friday. The road trip north is always a bit different because of the extended travel involved. Plus, the game will follow the first day of the spring semester.
“It’s definitely challenge going up there,” Curran said. “But we know we’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”