Keller’s boys basketball team picked up the sweep over Fossil Ridge last week, putting a little breathing room in the district title race. But it’s just an extra breath’s-worth.
The Indians now sport an 8-1 district mark, just ahead of the Panthers’ 7-2.
This week, though, can assist Keller in getting over more district hurdles and go into the home stretch in prime condition to lay claim to the district title and the top seed for the first round of the playoffs.
In another hard-fought battle between Keller and Fossil Ridge, Keller came away with a 54-50 win and was again paced by Nolan Taylor’s 22 points.
Ryan Parker of Fossil Ridge hit for 18 points.
“It all came down to the end and our kids came through,” said Keller head coach Randal Durant. “Ridge shot the ball well and we found a way to get it done.”
The focus now for Keller is whether they can keep from looking too far ahead.
With Richland on tap for Friday following Carroll on Tuesday, it will be an opportunity for the Indians to level a certain amount of revenge against the Rebels. It was the first matchup with Richland in the district schedule which produced the lone blemish on the Indians’ district record, a 58-46 loss on Jan. 10.
“When you have some success and are winning, you have to find a way to keep an edge,” said Durant. “We have told our kids from the start to play from in front. We still have a lot left to play and you want to finish as well as you can and put yourself in a good spot. You want to have them catch you.”
Durant acknowledged that as much as the Indians crave a district title, the goal is really to get the top seed. “It’s a big difference have the first seed heading into the playoffs,” he said.
Although the team is young, Durant said Keller has seen maturity in junior Brock Anders.
“He has really played well,” Durant said of Anders. “Brock has scored when we needed him to score, gotten rebounds when we needed a rebound and he’s leading the team in assists. And, he’s probably the best defender on the team. He leads by his maturity he shows.”
• Fossil Ridge bounced back from the Keller loss with a 61-43 win over Central.
The Panthers had Haltom on Tuesday, with Carroll on Friday and then Timber Creek the following Tuesday.
Results of the Tuesday night games were unavailable at the press deadline but can be found at dfwvarsity.com.
Every game matters for the Panthers, as they are tied with Northwest for second place and will play the Texans again the last game of regular season (Feb. 11). The Panthers already own a win over Northwest.
• Timber Creek, 3-6, surprised most with a 59-51 win over Richland on Friday. De’Vonte Waldon poured in 24 points for the Falcons and John Hatcher added 13. They’ll try to continue their streak when they take on Northwest (Tuesday’s game) and Keller on Friday.
• Central still seeks their elusive first district win of the season, but a game with Haltom on Tuesday may be the right opportunity for the Chargers. Richland could be in a slide and susceptible to a Central upset, as well, when the two match up on Friday.