Handling success and then overcoming adversity can pretty much sum up the Northwest girls basketball team’s previous week.
The Lady Texans (17-9, 7-4 in District 5-6A) met frustration in their 49-44 overtime home loss to Keller Central. But then they reacted with a hard-fought 46-36 victory at Byron Nelson.
As euphoric as the week was with the wins over Keller Fossil Ridge and Denton Guyer, the loss to the Lady Chargers served as a reminder that a young program looking for success had to maintain its level of play. Head coach Rusty Johnson liked how his team handled it.
“I wanted to see how they responded and bounced back after the funky stuff on Tuesday,” Johnson said. “The Keller Central game was a weird deal because we never trailed for four quarters. But that happens. So the way we handled it at Nelson was a testament. If we had any type of carryover from the Denton Guyer game into the Keller Central game, that was my fault.”
Nothing is set for this program just yet. The Lady Texans are tied for second with Denton Guyer. However, they and the Lady Wildcats only have a one-game lead over Keller Fossil Ridge and Denton Ryan, which are tied for fourth.
The first thing that this program had to do was take care of business against Keller Timber Creek, which is out of the playoff race. These types of games, though, can be problematic because team out of the playoff race can play loose without any pressure.
Provided Tuesday’s game is successful, Friday’s game at Denton Ryan will tell a lot more, since both teams are in playoff contention. And if you’re wondering, Northwest finishes the regular season on Feb. 10 at home against Keller.
“Our practices are more lively and the enthusiasm we have all the way through is great,” Johnson said. “Everyone understands what we’re trying to do.”
When he watched her the summer before her freshman year, Rusty Johnson couldn’t hide the excitement he had about his guard Alexis Brigham. Her ability to create her own shot or find different ways to score gave Johnson a sense that he had a figure who could serve as his signature player.
He also envisioned her leading her team down the stretch of the season to clinch a playoff berth. That’s happening. In the last six games going back to mid-January, the sophomore guard has averaged 18.5 points and never scored fewer than 15.
“She’s one of the best players in the district,” Johnson said. “A lot of things have gone well for her because she knows how to handle game situations. She had eight rebounds against Nelson. She’s just playing at a different level for the last two or three weeks. She sees the floor as well as anyone in the district. Her game has changed so much since Christmas.”
Byron Nelson update
The Lady Bobcats (8-18, 0-11 in 5-6A) had a more spirited effort in last week’s two close losses to Keller and Northwest. Coach Darren Wilson said his team continues to give great effort despite the fact there will be no postseason.
Nelson continued its season at Denton Guyer on Tuesday and plays host to Keller Central on Friday, which is senior night.