In a time of holiday spreads, Keller and Carroll provided a great appetizer for the main course on Friday.
The two teams – both 2-0 in District 4-5A – met in the finals of the Byron Nelson Classic on Saturday and went to overtime before Keller prevailed, 37-33.
It was a close and competitive game, although the execution was lacking, said Keller head coach Randall Durant.
“We had a problem getting in the right spot and executing all night,” Durant said,” except for Nolan (Taylor).”
Taylor, the sophomore power forward for Keller, poured in 24 points to account for a majority of the Indians’ scoring. He picked up his second tournament MVP award. (See related story on page 4B.)
“He dominated,” Durant added.
Kyle Tanner added 7 points for Keller, while Brock Anders had 4 and Erik Frederikson had 2.
It’s maybe no surprise that many teams may have trouble executing when getting back on the court following an extended break.
“The tournament after a break is usually some of your worst basketball all year,” Durant added.
Along the way to Keller’s second tournament championship, the Indians disposed of Trinity Christian 48-42 and Birdville 62-45.
The tournament championship glory will be short-lived if Keller doesn’t pick up where it left off as the Indians head back into district play this week. And, a trip down Farm Road 1709 to Southlake is next on the agenda Friday.
“It’s going to be a war, because that’s the one that counts,” Durant said. “This game is the one that counts.”
Taylor had said Keller and Carroll are no strangers to each other and that the preview game which was the finals would give his teammates an opportunity to spot any weaknesses and playing the Dragons was better than watching film.
Last year’s games with Carroll provided a narrow win and a blowout victory, but Taylor said that team had four starters now graduated.
The Indians, now 12-3 overall, will have to prepare for Timber Creek on Jan. 7 as they’ll host the Falcons.
• Timber Creek went 2-2 at the Moritz Dealership Holiday Tournament and now stand 7-7 overall. The Falcons will look to improve on their 1-1 district record. The Falcons beat L.D. Bell in the opening round before losing to Mansfield, 43-40.
A loss to Everman in the first round of consolations pit them against Haltom, where they beat the Buffs 75-58. They will host Northwest on Friday before traveling to Keller. John Hatcher scored 29 points for Timber Creek in the Haltom game, De’Vante Waldon had 12 and Anthony Johnson had 10.
• Fossil Ridge also went 2-2 at the Fort Worth ISD Classic. They walloped Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt 76-41 but then lost a heartbreaking 49-48 second-round game to Arlington Lamar in a game that close the whole way. The Panthers bounced back in a win over Austin LBJ before losing in the consolation round finals to Arlington Heights, 47-42.
Fossil Ridge will be at Haltom on Friday before playing host to Carroll on Jan. 7. They stand at 9-6 overall and 1-1 in district.
• Central had the roughest tournament of the Keller ISD schools at the Moritz tournament hosted by Aledo. The Chargers dropped games to Mansfield Legacy, Burleson Centennial, Aledo and Abilene. The Burleson Centennial game was a close 47-45 score, while the Abilene game was another close call at 37-34. Central held a 23-30 lead over Centennial at the half, but was outscored 16-9 in the final quarter. Savon Myers had 13 points in the Centennial game and 12 versus Aledo.
Central will now host Richland on Friday and travel to Haltom on Jan. 7 to get back on track in district play while looking to improve on their 0-2 mark.