Justin Northwest and other boys basketball teams in District 6-5A will complete their first trip around the league this week, and a few statements are on the line with an anticipated matchup finally rolling around.
The Northwest boys basketball team has heard about — and seen — the ability and talent of the Brewer Bears, and the two will finally square off this Friday.
Northwest, 5-0, will play host to the Bears, 4-1. The winner will be in the driver’s seat of the district standings, although there’s still plenty of games remaining to change the seeding order.
When Northwest got past Saginaw Chisholm Trail earlier, it took the upper hand in the “word-of-mouth” poll.
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Chisholm Trail has given Brewer its only district loss to this point in time.
A win over Brewer gives the Texans a two-game buffer over the Bears and gives an advantage in any tiebreaker scenarios.
But the Texans and head coach Mike Hatch know not to get too far ahead of themselves.
“We really do take one game at a time, and the players are good at that,” Hatch said. “Tuesday [an early week game with Haslet Eaton] is huge. It’s a rivalry with Eaton, and after Tuesday we’ll talk about Brewer a bit. They know Brewer is really good because we’ve seen them at tournaments. But let’s not get the cart ahead of the horse, and we’ll be in good shape.”
What it will take for Northwest to continue to excel was shown in last week’s game with Azle. The Texans put an 89-34 win together which was a combination of offense — and, finally — defense.
“We’ve been frustrated with our defensive effort, but Friday night was the first time we put together 32 minutes of playing defense with our offense,” Hatch said. “Our offense has been able to cover up our deficiencies of our defense. We’ve got to take care of that, and that was the first sign of having to play defense.”
Avery Anderson has been no surprise in terms of his output, but the emergence and consistency of other players is spelling the difference for the Texans.
Jordan Keyes has been scoring in double figures consistently lately, and Jay Am’mons has been coming off the bench and playing well for Northwest, Hatch said. Hatch also noted Fernando Ruiz is finding his way.
“Up to this point, we’ve always talked about how inexperienced we are and now we’re figuring out how to put it all together,” Hatch said. “It’s starting to set in.”
Keller also has an undefeated district mark intact after knocking off Keller Central and Weatherford.
The game at Weatherford was a close 54-50 win for the Indians. Keller had to dig out of an early deficit.
The Indians were down by nine after the first quarter.
“Weatherford played great early,” said Keller head coach Randall Durant. “We couldn’t get it going.”
Durant said he was proud of how his team responded.
“It didn’t look good early, but good teams survive those kinds of nights.”
He said he hoped it is an indication of character-building.
R.J. Nembhard posted mere mortal numbers with 14 points for Keller. His teammates did the rest in helping keep the unblemished district mark intact and putting an early hold on the lead.
This week Keller is playing Keller Timber Creek and a dramatically improved Haltom team.
Keller Fossil Ridge, which has positioned itself as a definite playoff contender, will face Central and Abilene.
The Panthers have gotten off to a 3-1 district mark and sit behind Keller in second place.
Next week, Weatherford will come to Ridge for another key test for Fossil Ridge.
Timber Creek, after the opportunity against Keller, will take on Central.
Trophy Club Nelson made the most of Friday the 13th with a 71-41 blasting of L.D. Bell.