Sometimes, you play a really good game and it doesn’t work out on the scoreboard because the other team played just a little bit better.
Unfortunately for Northwest, that turned out to be the case in last Friday’s 65-64 loss at Keller Fossil Ridge. Taylor Johnson and Josh Tatum combined for 40 points. The Texans (18-5, 5-2 in District 4-5A) had one of those weeks where they went from the district lead to falling into a tie for third place.
The difference in the Fossil Ridge loss was at the free-throw line. The Panthers were 18-21. The Texans were 13-18. Usually, the mark of a good team is its ability to make more free throws than the other team attempts. Consider that done for the Panthers.
“It was a great basketball game,” head coach Mike Hatch said. “We shot 46 percent and really played one of the best games we’ve played all year. But I can tell you that Fossil Ridge might be the best team we’ll play all year.”
The Texans – who also lost to Keller, 57-48, on Jan. 14 – are still in pretty good position because their district record is tied with Richland. Keller and Fossil Ridge are tied for first at 6-1. Northwest is two games clear of fifth place Carroll (3-4).
But as the second half of district started against Haltom at home on Tuesday, there is no reason to rest easy.
“We have to have a sense of urgency,” Hatch said. “Nothing has been given to us yet. We had a tough week and we have to work back from it. All we have to worry about is the next game and take care of business. It’s kind of a fight-or-flight kind of thing. We have to go out and perform.”
Without question, this team needs to beat the second division teams in order to reach the postseason. After Haltom, the Texans travel to Southlake Carroll. This is the week where the Texans must create some separation.
Byron Nelson update
Here’s what is really scary about Byron Nelson junior post Emmanuel Nzekwesi. When he scored 29 points in the 68-50 victory over Denton, head coach Scott Curran shrugged his shoulders.
Why? He’s seen Nzekwesi do this before. Nzekwesi has gone for 30 points in a couple of games throughout his career. It happened last year against Burkburnett. But there is so much more he can do with his game.
“He can be a lot better,” Curran said. “He only had six points at the half against Denton. He just erupted in the second half. Emmanuel just has a knack of being around the rim and scoring. He can do things off the dribble. He can do things one on one.
“He really worked hard over the summer on his jumper. When he starts hitting those, he makes teams come out and defend him and then he can go to the rim.”
The Bobcats (18-6, 6-1 in District 5-4A) began the second half of district play Tuesday at Wichita Falls Rider and play host to Lake Dallas on Tuesday. They were tied for the district lead with Denton Guyer. A pair of wins would clinch another 20-win season and potentially clinch a playoff spot.