It was a mixed bag of fortunes for the Keller ISD schools playing in the boys basketball playoff rounds last week.
Keller survived a 59-53 back-and-forth affair with Odessa Permian, while Fossil Ridge just couldn’t make the play at the end to lose 50-49 to El Paso Coronado.
Keller moves on and was set to play Lubbock Coronado in the Region I quarterfinals on Tuesday evening at Abilene Christian University. The game was played after the press deadline; see www.dfwvarsity.com for results.
In the win over Permian, it was the usual suspects for the Indians taking control.
Nolan Taylor led Keller in scoring with 20 points, while Ryan Feifer had 11 and Brock Anders added 10.
Keller head coach Randall Durant said the Indians played Permian’s game the first half and ended the first half knotted at 29-29.
“The second half was more defensive-minded,” Durant said. “Brock had 10 points but was fantastic on defense.”
In addition to his offense, Durant praised Feifer’s defensive rebounding.
“We weren’t as focused in the first half as I’d have liked but we got there in the second half,” Durant said.
Playing teams that Keller has never seen play previously makes the first part of the game a bit trial-and-error, Durant said, but focus comes into play.
“Now that we’re in the playoffs, we’re more focused in practice,” he said. “In a long, grinding season, you can lose them in practice. We’re doing better in practice and they’re pretty attentive as they know what’s at stake.”
As for Lubbock Coronado, Durant said they were reviewing some film and getting other scouting reports. What he’s learned is that Coronado is fundamentally sound and not likely to beat themselves. “We’ll have to play well,” Durant said.
With a win on Tuesday, Keller would be set to take on the winner of DeSoto and Harker Heights on Friday. Regardless of the winner, the game will be played at TCU.
The one-point loss was tough to take for head coach Zack Myers and the Panthers, but they were able to reflect on key accomplishments of the season.
“I’m so proud of the way our guys came out in the second half and handled adversity,” Myers said. “That’s what we’ve done all year.”
Myers said the loss certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort or trying.
“We made some really big plays and they made some,” Myers said. “They just made one more than we did. In that type of atmosphere last year, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did Friday night. We got after it and came up a little short. ”
Fossil Ridge finished in second place behind Keller and was playing for a share of the championship through the last regular season game.
“I’m proud of the way we competed all year,” Myers added. “We hit the expectations and goals that were aligned to where we ended up, except we planned to get to the regional tournament, but we didn’t get there.
“I’m proud of the guys and team and the way they represented our program, Myers said. “From Jan. 2 on, we didn’t have a bad practice … didn’t have one bad practice.”