Keller’s pinpoint offensive precision to open the game set the tone and the Indians stayed with it throughout, racing to the Class 6A Region I final with a 69-61 victory Friday night over Allen in a semifinal game at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
TCU signee R.J. Nembhard led the charge with eight of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter.
Keller (32-2), which hit 10 of its first 11 shots, will face Arlington Bowie, a winner over Killeen Ellison, for the regional title and a berth in the state tournament in San Antonio at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Coach Randall Durant said he believes this is the furthest a Keller basketball team has gone in the playoffs.
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“Every game, we pride ourselves on coming out with some high intensity, and that wasn’t any different tonight,” Nembhard said. “We got a little tired toward the end of the third quarter, but stuck with the game plan, tried to stay hot and defend.”
Allen never came up with a solution to Keller’s ability to move the ball.
The Eagles (29-7) pressed early with a 1-2-2 defense that put some pressure on the Indians in the back court.
But crisp passing made for some easy opportunities at the hoop, and Keller guard Carson Hughes got hot in the second quarter after the Indians opened the period missing six straight shots.
Hughes buried three 3-point shots to keep a 35-27 cushion at the break.
Allen stormed back in the third quarter, though, connecting on 8 of 16 shots to pull within 49-47 going into the fourth quarter.
Isaiah Stevens buried a 3-pointer to open the quarter and give the Eagles their first lead at 50-49.
It was short-lived as Keller connected on seven free throws and a couple of layups to reclaim the lead and extend.
“We kind of got a little tired there in the third quarter, but every time out we’re talking about being tougher than this,” Durant said. “We’re talking about putting the last play behind us and getting ready for the next one.”
Hughes finished with 14 points and Brady Boyd had 11 to back up Nembhard.
Senior forward Cam Christon led Allen with 27 points and Stevens finished with 11.