As the final seconds ticked down Friday, the Northwest Texans needed a defensive stop to hold off the Southlake Carroll Dragons and stay in the race for the District 4-5A title.
David Ogunwolu delivered, blocking a layup attempt as time expired to preserve the 51-50 win for the Texans.
“I just read the play,” Ogunwolu described. “I was the backside help and as soon as I saw him take off, I timed it right and got the block.
“That was a big, big win. We’re trying to win a district championship.”
Northwest (20-5) moved to 7-2 in the tightly packed conference. The Texans entered Tuesday’s game with Keller Timber Creek tied for second with Keller Fossil Ridge. Both are a game back of Keller.
After dropping back-to-back games to Keller and Fossil Ridge, Northwest has steadied the ship and won two straight.
Northwest coach Michael Hatch said praised his team’s resilence after the disappointing setbacks, including a one-point loss to Fossil Ridge.
“They were disappointed especially with the loss to Fossil Ridge,” Hatch said. “We played good. We feel we’ll get them at our place. It’s such a long race.”
Northwest point guard Josh Tatum, who scored 10 points against Carroll, said the Texans have kept their emotions in check throughout the season.
“We never get too high or too low. We know there are going to be setbacks,” Tatum said. “We just keep working hard in practice.”
Like Friday when the Tatum and Taylor Johnson combined to go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, the Texans are making key plays late in games to win close games. Of Northwest’s nine district games, five have been decided by five points or less.
The Texans are 4-1 in those games.
“All the district games are going to be like that,” Tatum said. “It’s good when you can overcome that type of adversity. We have a lot of winners on this team.
Ogunwolu added: “When things are going tough, this team finds a way to win. We practice hard every day, and this team has a lot of heart.”
The Texans are averaging 61.5 points per game on their way to 20 wins. Three Texans finished in double figures against Carroll. Elijah Christman led the way with 15 points. Johnson added 14.
But Hatch still wants to see the team clean things up on the defensive end in the final five-game stretch.
“Defensively, we are getting better but still have a ways to go,” Hatch said. “We’ve not played the solid defense we are used to around here yet.”