Nelson looks for title before playoffs

02/10/2014 2:30 PM

02/10/2014 2:30 PM

The on-again, off-again district championship sequence for the Byron Nelson boys basketball team appeared to be on again in 2013-2014.

Byron Nelson (22-7, 11-2 in District 5-4A) needed a win over Denton on Tuesday, after the press deadline, to secure at least a share of the district championship. Denton Guyer needed to beat White Settlement Brewer on Tuesday to earn its share.

Had both taken care of matters, Nelson coach Scott Curran said that he and the Guyer staff would likely flip a coin to determine the first and second seeds. At this point, a playoff game seemed unlikely.

Byron Nelson won the district championship in 2011-2012 but finished as the runner-up in 2012-13. But that season turned out pretty solid as the Bobcats played in the Class 4A Region I finals.

As the first or second seed, Nelson would open the playoffs against either Saginaw or Fort Worth Polytechnic.

“Every playoff road is tough,” Curran said. “Sometimes, as coaches we get caught up with looking too far ahead and seeing what can be the easier path. You can get beat any night. You just have to focus on what you have to do.”

The team continued to play really good defense last week as it held White Settlement Brewer and Azle to 49 and 41 points respectively.

Curran is hoping to get more out of his bench once the playoffs approach. Jack Nobles and Ethan Davis continue to emerge as third and fourth scorers. Thomas Williams and Emmanuel Nzekwesi are combining to lead this team in scoring at 13.2 and 19 points per game (Nzekwesi is also averaging 10.7 rebounds per game) but Nobles and Davis are averaging 5 and 6.2 points. Each has had his share of breakout double figure games.

“I know I always say every that we have to play to our strengths in our defense and rebounding, but it’s true,” Curran said. “I honestly feel like we have not played our best basketball. We have a lot of new faces and they have played with a chip on their shoulder. They’ve played angry to prove people wrong.”

Moving up to 6A

Byron Nelson moves up to the highest classification from last week’s realignment (Class 6A). They will share District 5-6A with Northwest, Denton Ryan, Denton Guyer, Keller, Keller Timber Creek, Keller Fossil Ridge and Keller Central.

“It’s going to be tough for us, but we’ll be OK,” Curran said. “Top to bottom, there are some bigger schools. You have some really great coaches in the district in [Keller coach] Randall Durant and Northwest’s [Mike] Hatch.”

Northwest update

The Texans (22-7, 9-4 in 4-5A) had a modest lead going into the fourth quarter get away from them in a 51-46 setback to Keller last Friday. Still, Northwest had extra motivation for Tuesday’s regular season finale against Keller Fossil Ridge.

The Texans needed to win that to keep third place and stay away from a fourth-place tie with Richland. Unfortunately, for the Texans, they’ve all four district losses have been by single digits. All four games have gone into the fourth quarter with the outcome in doubt. It’s been a matter of the Texans not making enough plays.

“It’s happened a couple of times to us and you’re probably not quite as confident,” head coach Mike Hatch said. “We’ve been trailing by four or five points and just haven’t gotten over the hump. Defensively, we’ve been fine. But we’re talking with the guys about doing the little things like taking a charge or somebody getting on the floor for a loose ball. This team is playing really hard.”

If Northwest and Richland finished tied, Hatch said he and Richland coach Richard Bacon likely would flip for the third and fourth positions.

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