With Keller coming off a second-place finish in District 4-5A girls basketball and Fossil Ridge grabbing the fourth spot, both teams were engaged in playoff action this week.
Keller played Arlington Lamar and Fossil Ridge took on Arlington Bowie in first-round games on Monday night after the press deadline. Results can be found at dfwvarsity.com.
As the number two seed, the Lady Indians drew the fourth seed from District 3-5A, while the Lady Panthers reaped the double-edged sword of grabbing the final playoff position and taking on the district champ Volunteers.
Keller had lost their regular season finale to Richland in double overtime last week, 52-51, but it didn’t impact their position.
Ridge, on the other hand, had to win their final game against Timber Creek to avoid a quagmire of play-in games and tiebreakers.
Had Fossil Ridge lost to Timber Creek, the Lady Falcons would have owned the tiebreaker over the Lady Panthers in a three-way tie along with Northwest. A play-in game would have been scheduled between Fossil Ridge and Northwest to determine an opponent for another play-in game against the Lady Falcons.
But, the 47-42 win by Fossil Ridge averted all those logistics for the final playoff spot.
Even with the loss to Richland, Keller stayed ahead of the Lady Rebels by one game, but behind district champ Carroll.
“We hadn’t had a close game in a while,” said Keller head coach Doug Sporrer. “It didn’t work out for us, but I told the girls if we had made just one more basket the emotions of the two teams would’ve been switched. As long as we learn from it and apply it, we’ll be just fine.”
Keller, 21-7 heading into the first round of the Region I playoffs, was taking on Lamar, 18-8, at L.D. Bell.
Sporrer had seen Lamar play previously and knew the Lady Vikings were to be a physical and athletic team. “It’s been a while since we’ve seen a team like them, but that’s why we played in the Mansfield and Flower Mound tournaments. We’ll be ready and the team is excited,” he said prior to the game.
With a win over Lamar, Keller would then take on the winner of El Paso Franklin and Amarillo Tascosa, with Franklin being the top seed from their district and Tascosa, the fourth seed. A game between Keller and the other game’s winner would likely be in Midland or Odessa on Friday, Sporrer said. Final arrangements would be detailed on Wednesday.
Fossil Ridge, 10-19, had the formidable task of playing Bowie at 26-2 at Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City.
“Getting to the playoffs is special,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Stacy Henson. “We have two seniors and we’ve been to the playoffs in eight of my 11 seasons, but it’s been three years since we’ve gone,” she said. “It was very important to the two seniors to get back (to the playoffs).”
Those seniors, Sterling Wilmer and Jennifer Licerio, along with the remainder of the Lady Panthers’ roster, knew their challenge was great, but were looking forward to the playoffs.
In the Timber Creek win, Licerio and Jordan Lake both scored 13, while Laniya Taylor of Timber Creek also scored 13.
The 6-8 district finish for the Lady Panthers was the result of a “last man standing” scenario of the competitive district race after Carroll and Keller. It could have been much easier to attain the fourth spot but Henson recalled a triple overtime loss to Northwest and loss to Central and Haltom in the first round of the district schedule which could have easily turned in their favor.