Carter overwhelms Decatur, sends Eagles home in bi-district round

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
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With four starters who had never played in a playoff game, Decatur coach Drew Coffman knew the opening minutes Tuesday night against Dallas Carter would be crucial.

He was right.

Within 90 seconds from the opening tip, the Cowboys had drained three 3-pointers to quickly mount a 9-0 lead. Coffman burned a timeout to try and settle his team down, but the 3’s kept on coming. Carter shot the lights out in the first quarter, knocking down five 3’s to build a double-digit lead and take down the Eagles 61-42 in the 4A Region II bi-district round of the playoffs at Southlake Carroll.

“I was kind of worried about [our start],” Coffman said. “They’re a team who has five seniors or whatever they start. I don’t know if it was opening game playoff jitters or whatever – or it could be because they’re just that good. You have to give them a lot of credit.”

Decatur trailed by as many 15 in the first quarter and went down by 20 early in the fourth quarter. Despite playing catch up for most of the game, the Eagles never allowed the Cowboys to completely pull away.

Several times, Decatur went on mini-runs to cut the lead to single digits. The Eagles got to within eight late in the first half, but that would be as close as they got.

Each time Decatur got within striking distance, Carter had an answer.

“I kind of think that would be the mantra and the story of our season as far as we just could never get over the hump,” Coffman said. “We did a lot of good things at times, we just didn’t do enough good things over a long portion of time to get a win – especially against a really good team like them.”

Kyle Hill led the Cowboys in scoring with game-high 15, with all of his points coming on 3’s. Decatur was led in scoring by Wilson Hicks, who finished with 11. Although he was the only Eagle to post double figures, Hicks was held scoreless in the second half.

Ethan Southard was Decatur’s second-leading scorer with nine. Izek Chavana and Gage Rieger each tossed in six.

Carter played a full-court press defense for most of the game. Even when the Eagles got into the halfcourt, the Cowboys continued to apply intense ball pressure, forcing several turnovers that led to points.

As a result, Decatur was never able to establish a rhythm offensively.

“That’s what they do. Teams like that, they like to speed you up and don’t let you really run your offense,” Hicks said. “We really just weren’t able to settle down and play like that.”

Trailing by 20 early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles made one last attempt to save their season, going on a quick 8-0 run. They trimmed the lead to 12, but missed free throws and turnovers eventually caught up with them down the stretch.

Decatur finished the season third place in District 9-4A and 17-17 overall.

“It wasn’t just this game, it felt like the whole year we were trying to get over the hump,” Hicks said. “We just hurt ourselves too much. I’m proud of the guys. We fought extremely hard, we just couldn’t get it done.”

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