With a victory over R.L. Turner on Friday night, the Grapevine boys basketball team kept its playoff hopes alive and now has to focus on what it can do to finish out the season strong.
The Mustangs played Trinity on Tuesday night after the press deadline and will travel to Irving MacArthur on Friday night in a must-win game for Grapevine. See dfwvarsity.com for results.
“Arguably, their two best players are both sophomores,” coach Kevin Starnes said. “We're senior-heavy, and I think that our experience could come into play at their place. They have gone through a grind of a district. It would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to go in and take us for granted.
“Our seniors need to come ready to play, and I think if we jump on them, maybe they quit, because they've got that inexperience. That is one area where we outweigh them, is that we've played in close games and won, so I think that we can get it done.”
Grapevine defeated Turner 80-55 on Friday night to improve to 4-7 in district competition, and Starnes said he thought it was a very good team effort.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Starnes said. “We scored 80 points, and every player on the team scored. I think that is the first time all season that has happened. Every kid contributed, and every kid got time, so that was good.”
L.D. Bell, Nimitz and Grapevine are all still in the running for the fourth and final playoff spot in district, and Starnes said his team just needs to focus on doing what it can do to put itself into a position to get that spot.
“We've got some tough games left,” Starnes said last weekend. “This week, in particular, we play Trinity and follow that up with Irving MacArthur. Those other teams have games that are probably are more winnable. We would have to string a couple of really good games together, which I believe is within our ability to do, but we haven't shown that yet ... but anything can happen. I just think that the kids need to come out and believe that it can be done.”
Starnes said his team does believe in itself and said the biggest problem the Mustangs have faced this season is in the area of execution.
“I think confidence is at a good point right now for us,” Starnes said. “I think the kids believe they can score and get stops. Where we've faltered in the past is in the clutch, making free throws and taking care of the basketball. In the Irving game we're up four points with a minute late, we have a turnover and then have a missed assignment on defense, and then we miss two straight free throws ... we had chances, and we didn't take advantage of them. I think that has been our biggest thing.”
• Over at Colleyville Heritage, the Panthers lost a close one to Irving on Friday night by a score of 55-49 to move to 3-8 in district competition.
Noah Nelson led the team in scoring with 12 points, while Derrick Donnell and Jacob Sisk each added 10 points in the game for Colleyville Heritage.
The Panthers played Nimitz on Tuesday after the press deadline and will host R.L. Turner at 8 p.m. on Friday.