Keller Citizen

Coach trusts Northwest boys basketball to run defense

Javon Lipscombe (32) has helped run the Northwest defense from the court.
Javon Lipscombe (32) has helped run the Northwest defense from the court. Star-Telegram Archive

Coaches always want to trust their teams. But there comes a point in time where a coach just knows when that time has arrived

Northwest boys basketball coach Mike Hatch apparently has found that with his defensive group. The Texans have not only been locking down teams. They’ve pretty much put a vice grip on them.

Through the first five games, the Texans (16-6, 4-0 in 5-6A through Jan. 12) have been holding their opponents to 32 percent shooting. And really, Hatch doesn’t have to say anything. He lets his leaders make the choice.

Whether they are going full court man or full court press, senior guards Elorm Koto and Javon Lipscombe will make the call.

“Really, our playing defense has gotten contagious,” Hatch said. “Javon is one of our best defenders. Everybody feeds off him. He’s made it something that playing defense is important. I really leave it up to him on if they’re going to press or man.

“And he can see things that will tell him that they can have success going man or press. Like every team, they have to earn your confidence. As the season has progressed, I trust them to do the right thing.”

This defense isn’t bringing size to the attack. Lipscombe is 5-10. Koto is 5-9. When Northwest deploys its alignment, Lipscombe and Koto are up front. Tevian Ezell is typically on the opposite side of the court. Avery Anderson will pick up the second best ballhandler on the opposing team. Darrell Simpson is the rim protector.

With that set and this group’s ability to keep the ball out of the middle of the floor, it will force lower percentage shots. And thus the first four opponents, Keller Central, Northwest Byron Nelson, Keller Timber Creek and Denton Ryan have averaged only 41.3 points per game.

However, the challenges were coming for the Texans. They played district favorite Keller on Friday and were at Keller Fossil Ridge on Tuesday. Northwest concludes the first half of the district season Friday against Denton Guyer.

“They’re conscientious and they’re not going worry about making a mistake,” Hatch said. “What’s important is that once you have buy in, you can take it and run with it. This team plays fearless.”

Maturity

It could have been a sign of things to come for the rest of the season. Ezell was held to a career-low three points Jan. 12 at Denton Ryan. The Raiders ran a lot of box-and-one sets and making sure Ezell would not have good looks.

“The important thing was that Tevian was not getting impatient and cranking up bad shots,” Hatch said. “He used his teammates.”

Byron Nelson update

While the Bobcats (13-8, 2-2 through Jan. 12) have strung some success together, head coach Scott Curran was not very pleased with the way his team performed in the 46-39 victory over Keller Central.

The Bobcats have been struggling with turnovers. However, this team has climbed its way back into the district playoff race. Nelson played Keller Fossil Ridge Friday and Keller Timber Creek Tuesday. The Bobcats conclude the first half of district play Friday at Denton Ryan.

“I’ve been in games where we turned it over 22 times and won by 12,” Curran said. “The problem is a lot of the turnovers are unforced. The district season is a grind. But you have to just pace yourself to get through it.”

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