Basketball: Decatur rolls Keller International, looks ahead to Whataburger Tournament

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, December 23, 2017
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The Decatur Eagles got an early Christmas present Thursday.

FLYING BY – Decatur’s Dane Fitzgerald drives for a layup against Keller International. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Thanks to a suffocating full-court press, Decatur rolled Keller International 69-16, forcing turnover after turnover in the blowout. The Eagles had four players finish in double figures, led by Dane Fitzgerald, who had a team-high 12 points.

“I thought our energy on the defensive end of the floor was really good today,” said Decatur coach Drew Coffman. “It created some offense for us. We tried some things defensively we haven’t been able to do the last few games, so it was good to see.”

The Eagles held Keller International to just two points in both the first and third quarters, denying any open shots or good looks at the basket. Decatur forced multiple miscues with its intense press, giving the Eagles plenty of chances to get out and run in transition.

Fitzgerald was typically the one leading the fast break, dishing out several assists that led to easy finishes around the rim.

“I was pleased with the way we flew around,” Fitzgerald said. “Our defensive mindset is just attack and try to make them make a mistake and capitalize on it.”

Decatur improved to 9-4 on the season with the victory and head into the Whataburger Tournament next weekend with much-needed momentum. Decatur takes on Seminole in the first round Thursday, Dec. 28 at 2:30 p.m.

“They’re a good team.” Coffman said of Seminole. “They have such good size across the board. Their guards are 6’3, 6’4. They’re big, strong kids. They play a matchup zone that kind of gave us some trouble against Bowie. They’re going to present a lot of challenges, but I know our team will be up for it.”

Decatur advanced to the finals of last year’s Whataburger tournament, bowing out in the championship game to Abilene Wylie 72-63. The tournament, which sports several of the top teams in Texas, runs from Dec. 28-30 at Chisolm Trail High School in Fort Worth and the W.G. Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City.

“Coach Coffman just got done talking to us about how it’s the best Christmas tournament in the state,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m looking forward to going out there and competing to see where we are.”

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