Keller Citizen

Keller faces last hurdle to perfection before playoffs

In finishing perfect in any district race, there’s going to be a lot of great play, teamwork and a little bit of luck.

For Keller’s girls basketball team, earning its 13th straight District 5-6A victory in a game over Fossil Ridge took a little of all three.

Keller prevailed 41-40 over the Lady Panthers after a Fossil Ridge basket was changed from a three-pointer to a 2.

Neither team shot the ball especially well, and Fossil Ridge was making the most of offensive rebounds.

But Keller was able to take the fourth game of its district schedule in which just a single possession spelled the difference.

Alli Gribbin’s 21 points was a big lift for Keller.

“I hope that experience of winning four close games will help us a little bit in the playoffs,” said Keller head coach Doug Sporrer.

To finish out a perfect district schedule, Keller would have to get past Northwest in Tuesday’s game.

The game with Northwest was the last thing preventing the Lady Indians from adding a perfect 14-0 record to the first outright district championship for Keller in several years.

With the final results of that game with Northwest unavailable at the press deadline, a newspaper story’s curse was only one of a few reasons the Lady Indians might not finish with a perfect record. Results of the game, though, can be found at dfwvarsity.com.

Ever since Keller clinched its playoff spot, it’s had something else to play for, Sporrer said. “I know they want to finish undefeated. It’s a motivating factor.”

Plano East or Allen will be the likely foe for Keller in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

East tends to play a run-and-gun style, while Allen is a big, physical team.

“Who we play will determine a lot as to how we match up,” Sporrer said.

Motivation has taken a new level at Fossil Ridge after the Lady Panthers lost a game they thought they should have won at Keller.

A win over Keller would have wrapped up a playoff spot for Fossil Ridge.

“It’s not season-ending, but we would’ve clinched,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Stacy Henson.

The Lady Panthers at 7-6 held a one game lead over Denton Ryan for the final playoff spot.

The Lady Panthers were to play Byron Nelson on Tuesday, while Ryan had to contend with second-place Guyer.

“We’ll go in on Tuesday and take care of business and take that fourth spot,” Henson said. “Momentum going into the playoffs is huge. And the girls are vengeful after Friday. We have a chip on our shoulder, is the best way to say it.”

No one expected Ridge to beat Guyer and then, after blowing out Ryan by 21 in the first meeting, the Lady Panthers lost to Ryan. Their loss early to Central still leaves a bad taste in the team’s mouth.

Losing Ty Henry for five district games was huge for Fossil Ridge, but with her back on the court, look for the Lady Panthers to meet the challenges head on. Grayson Bright continues to help pace the Ridge offense and makes a formidable tandem with Henry.

Barring a loss and a Ryan win forcing a play-in game, Ridge will likely meet Plano West in the first round of the playoffs.

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