Following its district-opening game loss to Keller, the Fossil Ridge boys basketball team has put four wins together and readies for one of the district’s toughest stretches.
The Panthers, 4-1, face Richland and Northwest this week and then prepare for Keller again on Jan. 21.
Richland, a winner over Keller last Friday, is also at 4-1 along with the Panthers and Indians. Northwest remained unbeaten after their win on Friday night and stands at 5-0.
But you won’t find the Panthers spending time looking ahead to being the first to knock off Northwest, nor even daydreaming about the rematch with rival Keller. The Indians defeated Fossil Ridge 55-52 in the first meeting.
Fossil Ridge head coach Zack Myers said the team was truly focused just on playing Richland in Tuesday’s game. Results were unavailable at the press deadline, but can be found at dfwvarsty.com.
Though wary of “coach-speak,” Myers said his Panthers are truly focused on one opponent at a time.
“Really and truly, we are just focusing on Richland,” he said Sunday. “Our kids may not even know who we have on Friday.”
The opportunity to take on Richland, Northwest and Keller consecutively is a chance to further flush out the upper half of the district standings and put a little more cement in the playoff foundation.
“We know it’s a great challenge and we’re looking forward to the opportunity,” Myers said of the gauntlet run. “But as I’ve said, in district, they’re all big ones. We’re having good practices and we look forward to great practices. But we’ll just focus on what we can control. We focus on ourselves and that’s the most important thing for us.”
With next Tuesday’s games starting the second cycle through the district, Myers said all the teams will show new wrinkles or adjustments, but the familiarity with each other will certainly remain.
“With film and scouting the way it is, everyone knows so much about you,” Myers said. “We all know each other and there are really good coaches in the district.”
The game at Northwest on Tuesday (results on dfwvarsity.com) would be a chance to further confuse the race for a district champion and true frontrunner.
Keller will host Central on Friday prior to the start of the second loop through the district schedule when they host Ridge next week.
Keller’s Nolan Taylor continues to set the tone for the Indians while the supporting cast around him takes turns making solid plays and contributions. Erik Frederikson matched Taylor’s 10 points in the loss to Richland.
The Indians had knocked off Timber Creek last Tuesday, 62-48, a game in which R.J. Nembhard scored 17 points. Taylor, Brock Anders and Kyle Tanner also finished in double figures for Keller.
Dare Brazeal has had the hot hand for Timber Creek lately, but others such as DeVonte’ Waldon, John Hatcher and Manny Calton have also been key contributors.