SPORTS HEADLINES

Decatur nets chance for title

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014

While enjoying a night off Friday, the DecatGearing up for shot — Decatur’s Haley Dennard dribbles the ball up the floor against Bridgeport. The Lady Eagles entered the 9-3A finale Tuesday with a chance to win a share of the league crown.ur Lady Eagles received the help they needed to have a shot at the District 9-3A title.

GEARING UP FOR SHOT – Decatur’s Haley Dennard dribbles the ball up the floor against Bridgeport. The Lady Eagles entered the 9-3A finale Tuesday with a chance to win a share of the league crown. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Krum knocked off Gainesville 47-38 to close out the district at 6-2 and take over the league lead. Gainesville and Decatur were a half-game out entering their regular season finales Tuesday.

Decatur (20-5, 5-2) took on Sanger at home, and Gainesville finished at Bridgeport. If both win, it could create a three-way tie atop the league.

“It was good for us. It gave us a chance to get a share of the title,” said Decatur coach Billy Garner.

To break the tie, the three teams would play a mini-tournament later this week to decide the top three playoff seeds out of the league.

“We would flip, and the odd man out would sit and wait to play the winner of the other two,” Garner explained Monday.

But the Decatur coach was not getting ahead of himself, pointing out that the Lady Eagles needed to beat the playoff-bound Sanger Lady Indians before they worry about tiebreakers.

His team understood that.

“It makes the game Tuesday even more important,” said Decatur point guard Haley Dennard.

The senior also said they would not overlook a Sanger squad that knocked them off last year in the season finale to keep them out of the playoffs.

“We want this one bad,” Dennard said. “Sanger beat us out last year.

“It’d be great to go from being out of the playoffs to a district title.”

The Lady Eagles have won two straight since falling to Gainesville Jan. 21. In wins over Krum and Bridgeport, they averaged 64 points.

“We know defense wins games, but it’s nice to have the shots falling,” Dennard said.

The three-team tournament would take the place of a warm-up game for Decatur before starting the playoffs Feb. 10 or 11.

“It’d be good playing Krum or Gainesville. It’d be helpful getting ready for the playoffs,” Garner said.

The stakes of the potential tiebreaker tournament will be high. The first-place team will get the fourth-place team out of District 10-3A – Aubrey or Carrollton Ranchview – in bi-district. The second-place team will face Frisco Lone Star.

The third-place team will get No. 2 Argyle or No. 3 Celina. Those top-ranked teams met Tuesday with Argyle having a chance to capture the district crown. Celina could force a tie with a victory.

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