When Colleyville Heritage squares off with Fort Worth Eastern Hills on Saturday, the game will feature two of the top four teams in the District 8-5A standings.
Coach Stephen Hamrick said that he expects this game to be like the team’s first encounter on Jan. 3, close and hotly contested.
“Eastern Hills does a very good job on the defensive end,” Hamrick said. “They have good transition defense, and they do a good job of not allowing easy baskets. So I think we are going to have to do a good job of executing on the offensive end to get good shots.”
The Panthers lost to Eastern Hills by a score of 47-46 in their first encounter earlier this month, in spite of a 19-14 fourth-quarter run.
Nico Bossinakis scored nine points in the first game against the Highlanders, while Mohamed Idris scored eight and Germon Thothion, DeShaunn Vasquez-Dickson, Jeff Weems and Jake Ryan combined for 15 points for Colleyville Heritage.
The story of the game, however, was Nantz Nelson, who led the team in scoring with 14 points, but also sustained a season-ending injury.
Hamrick said he is pleased with the way his team has played throughout district, and said Nelson is still a big part of the Panthers’ success so far.
“At this point, I’m very pleased with the way our group has played,” Hamrick said. “We have dealt with some adversities in a positive way, with the main being a season-ending ACL injury of Nelson. I’m very proud of the way our group has come together to not only lift him up, but to rise to the occasion, if you will.
“Nantz still has a strong positive presence in our locker room. Everyone is just trying to be a better version of themselves.”
Hamrick said he feels confident that Colleyville Heritage will contend for one of the four playoff spots this season and said it will take a couple of things to do so.
“Playing great team defense and rebounding the basketball needs to be a constant, night in and night out,” Hamrick said. “We have been pretty good on the defensive end all year, we need to have some consistent and balanced production on the offensive end.”
Colleyville Heritage will travel to Fort Worth at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 to play Eastern Hills at the Billingsley Field House.