North Crowley hangs on vs. Martin for first-place tie
With two games left in the boys basketball regular season, Arlington Martin and North Crowley just might end up as co-champions in District 4-6A.
Both are 10-2 in district. Martin is 19-9 overall, and the Panthers are 23-6. Each team beat the other on the road in 4-6A play this season.
North Crowley is 6-4 against the Warriors in district games going back to the 2012-13 season.
“There’s no question it’s a rivalry and a good one, too,” second-year Martin coach Clint Schnell said. “But with the tension and emotion in a game like that, it’s probably better to flip for the seeding and look to make that matchup down the road.”
Last season, the Warriors clipped North Crowley in the consolation final of the Whataburger tournament. But Martin lost both District 4-6A games as the Panthers posted a 14-0 mark on the way to a district title.
“It’s very possible both of our teams could meet in a regional, but again we’ve got to win our last two games here and see what happens,” Schnell added.
There’s no question it’s a rivalry and a good one, too. But with the tension and emotion in a game like that, it’s probably better to flip for the seeding and look to make that matchup down the road.
Martin coach Clint Schnell
That possibility came very close last season.
Martin, a district runner-up in 2016, recorded convincing playoff wins over San Angelo Central, El Paso Americas and Amarillo Tascosa to reach the regional semifinals.
At Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in March, the Warriors lost a heartbreaker to South Grand Prairie, 51-48. North Crowley lost three days before that in the regional quarterfinals to Lubbock Coronado, 87-73.
Schnell credits the team’s success to the resolve of last year’s graduating class.
“This program had success well before I got here and they wanted to get back to that,” Schnell said. “And as we won more playoff games last year, the juniors and underclassmen and people in our program got to see firsthand, what all of that was like.”
We take a lot of pride in how we play defense and because our guards are playing so well right now, it creates a lot of great matchups for us.
Defense is the key this season, Schnell said. He wants the team to keep opponents at around 40 points per game. Opponents are averaging 42.7. Senior guard Seth Harwell leads the team in that area.
“We take a lot of pride in how we play defense and because our guards are playing so well right now, it creates a lot of great matchups for us,” Schnell said. “Seth’s been a guy that’s gone out on both North Crowley and Bowie’s best players and done the job on them that we asked him to do.”
That’s left offensive opportunities for Jalen Petillo and Jay’len Wilson to wear down opponents with the basketball.
Petillo, a forward, averages 14.5 points and 8.8 rebounds a game while Wilson runs the point averaging 8.0 points and 5.5 assists.
“A lot of folks don’t realize that it isn’t just numbers you lose to graduation, it’s leadership as well,” Schnell said. “But these guys really believe in themselves and we’ve gone from a team with perhaps just a couple of weapons to a team with four or five guys that can knock down a shot or attack the rim.”
Martin is at Arlington (10-20, 3-9) on Friday, and hosts Arlington Lamar (13-16, 6-6) on Tuesday. North Crowley meets Arlington Sam Houston (7-22, 1-11) and Mansfield (17-14, 8-4).
So despite what fans want — a possible 4-6A championship game — that coveted rubber match is more probable in a regional setting.
... These guys really believe in themselves and we’ve gone from a team with perhaps just a couple of weapons to a team with four or five guys that can knock down a shot or attack the rim.
“No question it would be a huge game and probably a great one, too,” Schnell said. “But I can’t think of a scenario in the last few years where any teams have chosen to play an extra game for a title before the bi-district game.”
The regional tournament returns to Wilkerson-Greines on March 3-4.