A prelude to the start of the district schedule comes in this week’s KISD Varsity Tournament, a final tune-up for local boys basketball teams.
Keller and Timber Creek will be the host sites for this year’s 16-team tournament, sponsored by Lustig & Young Orthodontics, which tips off on Thursday and runs through Saturday.
Fossil Ridge is coming into the tournament at 5-4 after a going 2-2 in the Sanger tournament. Its losses were a tough 57-55 overtime decision to Frisco Independence and to Lubbock Cooper by a three-point margin.
The Panthers faced Irving on Tuesday before the start of the tournament. They’ll start the tournament against Temple on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Timber Creek.
The Panthers could take on either McKinney or L.D. Bell with a win in the first round.
Fossil Ridge head coach Zack Myers said the tournament has been conducted for several years in various forms and formats but has been running in a full school district sponsorship fashion for a number of years now.
The annual tournament has become one which attracts several teams from all areas of the state and has developed a strong field.
“It’s a very competitive tournament with very good teams,” Myers said.
Schools have rotated serving as home courts.
Along with Keller, Timber Creek and Central, Ridge will use the tournament to fine-tune execution against quality opponents prior to the start of the district schedule.
“We’re excited about some of the things we’re doing,” Myers said. “The guys are learning to win close games and I’m excited about what our guys are doing – playing hard with great energy and great enthusiasm.
“Some mistakes we’ve made have been good for us since we’re learning and it’s not a district game,” Myers added. “You’d love to learn and win and we’ve had our chances to win a few and lost two close games but we’ve got to keep learning from every situation we’re in.”
A case in point for Myers was Fossil Ridge’s overtime loss to Frisco Independence.
Independence tied the game with about 1:30 to go with a three-pointer.
“It was good for us to be in that situation. In district, that’s what they’re all going to be,” Myers said. “We expect the same with Irving and the same with the rest of the tournament.”
All four Keller ISD teams relish the opportunity to have competitive games in town prior to the start of the district schedule on Dec. 20.
Keller, 6-1, will cap the tournament’s first round of games on its home court as it hosts Irving. Trinity and Paschal are on the other side of the brackets for Keller, should it advance in the championship round.
Keller is coming off a championship title of the Saginaw Chisholm Trail tournament. They knocked off the hosts, 67-44 in the finals.
“That was the best team we’ve played and it was a good team win,” Keller head coach Randall Durant said of the win over the Rangers.
R.J. Nembhard poured in 30 points and was joined in the scoring by Carson Hughes with 23 points.
Performances such as Hughes’ complement a standout such as Nembhard, and Durant said everyone contributed.
Nembhard is averaging 27 points per game, Durant said of the TCU signee.
Early in the week, Keller was taking on Life Waxahachie before the tournament start.
“The tournament will be another good measuring stick,” Durant said.
Central will play at 2 p.m. at Keller as it takes on Birdville. With a win, the Chargers would take on the winner of Flower Mound and Killeen.
Timber Creek starts at 6:30 p.m. on its home court to take on Fort Worth South Hills. A win by the Falcons would pit them against the winner of John Paul II and Frenship on Friday.
The Falcons, 5-4, are coming off a 2-2 performance at a tournament in San Antonio.
After dropping its first two games, Timber Creek came back with wins over San Antonio Harlandale and Mission Sharyland.