There may have been no sicker experience that the Northwest girls basketball program has gone through thus far than the fourth quarter last Friday against Keller Fossil Ridge.
Leading 37-21 going into the final period, the Lady Texans appeared to be on their way to picking up that first district win in three years. But the unthinkable happened. The Lady Texans (5-6, 0-2 in 4-5A) couldn’t finish. They missed good shots, couldn’t get stops on the defensive end and were 4-of-16 on free throws and lost, 44-41.
But chalk this up to a program going through tremendous growing pains. Coach Rusty Johnson had seen this team get off to slow starts in losses to Euless Trinity (14-2) and Keller (10-0). The Lady Texans fell behind by large deficits before rallying to make the outcomes more respectable.
So he preached the importance of staring right. The team heeded the message as Northwest got the start it wanted against the Lady Panthers. It built a 28-9 lead the half. And then the fourth quarter happened.
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“We had a room full of distraught kids,” Johnson said. “There are no moral victories, but I think what these two games against Keller and Fossil Ridge showed them was that they do belong. We’re learning at all time.
“The only thing we can ever ask of ourselves is if we gave everything we had and laid it all on the line. We’re doing that. Eventually, we’re going to get one of these games. We’ve worked too hard to do it.”
How close to 8-3?
Try 10 points. And if the Lady Texans were just a little better at the free-throw line this season, they might be talking about having one of the greatest turnarounds in prep high school basketball annals rather than being 5-6.
Frustration at the free-throw line cost them in losses to Decatur (40-39), Keller (37-31) and Fossil Ridge. Currently, the Lady Texans are only about 50 percent on their attempts.
“Winning is hard,” Johnson said. “But we’re just trying to find ourselves and get that toughness to complete some games.”
Northwest continued district play on Tuesday against Richland before traveling to Carroll on Friday.
Byron Nelson update
The best start in school history continued for the Lady Bobcats (12-2, 2-0 in District 5-4A), but there were certainly no style points that came with the 47-43 victory over Azle and the 25-23 victory over Denton.
As physical as those games were, the Lady Bobcats found a way to win both. If this was the 2011-2012 squad or 2012-2013 team, this team probably doesn’t finish with wins. In the physical win over Denton, Tralyn Woodard suffered a split lip and Madison Edward took an elbow to the jaw. The plays weren’t dirty, head coach Darren Wilson said. It was the flow of the play. But the bottom line is that Nelson had more.
“It’s a lot different,” Wilson said. “For one, there’s just a lot of trust in each other to do their jobs. They’ve seen what they can accomplish. Plus, we’re just a year older and more mature. That all factors into it.”
The Lady Bobcats played Wichita Falls on Tuesday and play Lake Dallas on Friday.