The rebuilding for the Northwest girls basketball program is still in its early stages. But weeks like the one the Lady Texans had last week continue to reveal the progress it’s making.
Northwest (13-8, 3-2 in District 5-6A) defeated Northwest ISD rival Byron Nelson (51-33) and then won on the road at Keller Timber Creek, 40-32. That put the Lady Texans in a very good position as the first half closed this week with a home game against Denton Ryan on Tuesday and at Keller on Friday.
The road win at Timber Creek was telling, because the team found a way to win when it didn’t have a good offensive night. Playing sound defense is always at the backbone of a team succeeding over struggles. Before Tuesday, Northwest had won three consecutive district games for the first time since the Shauntal Nobles era from the early part of this decade.
Other factors played into win the win. Northwest committed only eight turnovers and was 24-28 on free throws. So consider that 60 percent of the Lady Texans’ offense came at the foul line.
“We did not shoot it well, but instead of losing by 20, we wound up winning by eight,” coach Rusty Johnson said. “With the fundamentals we’re building and have put together, we have a chance to win every night. We’re headed in the right way. And that’s what you want as you want your program to grow.”
District race update
Keller appears to be the team to beat in 5-6A. Before Tuesday’s play, the Lady Indians are setting the pace at 5-0. Denton Guyer was second at 4-1, while Northwest, Ryan and Keller Fossil Ridge were tied for third at 3-2. Keller Central was 2-3. Timber Creek was 1-4. Byron Nelson was last at 0-5.
With the first half of the district race concluding this week, Northwest was in a position where it would still be in a good place even if it dropped its two meetings to Ryan and Keller. Obviously, a split would be ideal. A sweep would be unprecedented.
But Johnson has noticed a different kind of confidence. A strong performance at the Saginaw Boswell tournament as well as this run in the district has fueled different expectations. Northwest believes it will win.
“We have a little resilience and we know we are talented,” Johnson said. “It used to be that if we didn’t shoot it well, we would have no chance to win. But when you win in [Class] 6A, it means that you’re making progress. All we are trying to do is get a win [against Ryan] and then we’re going to worry about Keller. That’s the way we have to approach it.”
Byron Nelson update
The Lady Bobcats (8-12, 0-5 in 5-6A) are at the point of the year where if there is going to be any postseason, the team is going to have win its final nine games to do so.
Nelson dropped decisions to Northwest and Denton Guyer last week to put it at the bottom of the district standings. The Lady Bobcats are at Keller Central on Tuesday and play host to Keller Fossil Ridge on Friday to wrap up the first half of district play.
The good news is that coach Darren Wilson’s program got senior post Maddie See (leg condition) back in the lineup earlier than expected. She played Tuesday against Northwest and again on Friday against Guyer and averaged 7.5 points.