Northwest wins in three OTs; Lady Texans rally from 16 down at half

By Jimmy Alford | Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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The Lady Texans battled through three overtimes for a much-needed victory over Fossil Ridge Friday night in Keller.

RISING TO CHALLENGE – Northwest’s Brianna Barnhill reaches for a tipped ball at the beginning of one of the three overtimes. She finished with 10 points in the win over Fossil Ridge. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Northwest (3-6) downed the Panthers 64-62 to fight their way into a tie for fourth place in District 4-5A with Haltom (3-6) and Fossil Ridge (3-6).

The Lady Texans’ Bailey Porter led all scorers with 21 points. The Panthers’ Maurisha Peyton added 17.

Northwest lost by three to Fossil Ridge in their first meeting in December. Northwest coach Rusty Johnson said they prepped for the tough play they saw that night, but got a surprise.

“The first time we played Fossil Ridge they used a double-post offense, so that is what we prepared for,” Johnson said. “Then they came out with five guards. They went to up-tempo trapping and we had to adjust.”

The first half was brutal for the Lady Texans as the Panthers controlled the boards. Northwest trailed 32-16 at halftime.

Johnson said the Lady Texans only took one shot outside the paint in the half.

The tables turned in the third period as Northwest doubled the Panthers’ efforts.

“Brianna Christensen came off the bench in the second half and did a fantastic job, as did Brianna Barnhill and Porter,” Johnson said. “Our guards did an awesome job knowing what we were trying to do, not forcing things and getting the ball where it needed to be.”

Northwest had just taken the lead in the third when a last-second, three-quarter-court 3-pointer gave Fossil Ridge back the advantage going into the fourth.

“To their credit [the Panthers] battled,” Johnson said. “We survived a fluke shot at the end of the third, and we made progress.”

Northwest scored more than double the Panthers’ points in the fourth, tying the game and sending it into overtime.

Each team scored six in the first overtime and four in the second. Both times, the Lady Texans survived two last-second Panthers possessions where Fossil Ridge could have put the game away.

The Lady Texans caught a couple breaks when two of the Panthers’ best players, Peyton and Madison Crawford, fouled out. In the third overtime, Northwest outscored the Panthers 7-5 to seal the win.

“It’s been a process for the Lady Texans to get to this point,” Johnson said. “It’s been a process all year of believing in ourselves. Tonight showed growth and that we could handle that pressure a lot better. ”

Vying for a potential playoff spot, the Lady Texans played the first of their tiebreakers Tuesday night at home against Haltom. Fossil Ridge’s Tuesday game was against Keller, who defeated Northwest 59-34 Jan. 14.

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