The Keller girls basketball team was able to get back into the flow of the season last week as it played in the Mansfield Spring Creek Barbeque Tournament.
Although they didn’t win the tournament, they accomplished something probably more important — knocking the dust off and shaking out the cobwebs.
Holiday tournaments are always the perfect remedy after extended time off — the UIL mandates at least a five-day hiatus — allowing players to get back into fighting shape.
But making the mental transition back to district play, with high stakes on the line, is also a critical factor.
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The Lady Indians entered the holiday event with a 3-0 District 3-6A record and now have the luxury of getting into back-to-school mode before hosting Fossil Ridge on Friday.
“We’ll play (the minimum four tournament games) and then have the weekend off,” said Keller head coach Doug Sporrer. “I think having the bye (on Tuesday) helps us make the mental shift.”
Regardless of the outcome of the tournament, the benefits of improving timing and conditioning are invaluable after a layoff.
Keller lost its first-round game to Mansfield Legacy, 56-53.
“We wanted a win. But it was a good game against a good team,” Sporrer said. “You always want to win a close game. But the reality is, it was a one-basket difference.”
In the process, all 10 players got playing time, and most of them needed to catch a few breathers as they re-acclimate.
Legacy showed Keller at least five different defensive strategies, which Sporrer felt was a great learning experience, too.
The Lady Indians went on to pick up wins over Katy Thompkins, Har-Ber (Ark.) and Amarillo Tascosa.
Looking forward, Keller’s game with Fossil Ridge on Friday will signal the beginning of the most important stretch of the season.
The Lady Indians will come back next week and play at Central before a big district matchup at Weatherford the following Friday.
Weatherford also went into the break with a 3-0 district mark.
Fossil Ridge, in addition, will also have Haltom on the schedule while Central was traveling to Abilene before hosting Haltom.
Timber Creek is at Weatherford and then takes on Abilene.