TROPHY CLUB — With its win Friday over Denton, Guyer knocked one squad out of a gridlock atop the District 5-4A standings.
On Tuesday night at Trophy Club Nelson, the Wildcats did it again.
Guyer overcame as much as a 10-point deficit in the first half and roared back in the second half to top Nelson 49-43 to establish itself as the lone district frontrunner with four games remaining in the regular season.
Guyer (19-6, 9-1 district), the No. 13 team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A state poll, was playing more shorthanded than it already had been recently after 3-point specialist Zack Duncan injured his arm in Friday’s win over Denton.
His injury was added to a list that already included sophomore starter Mitchell Willard, who’s out indefinitely with an ankle injury, and Josh Jordan, who has played just nine games this season but expects to return Tuesday at Wichita Falls Rider.
“It’s all about faith,” Guyer head coach Grant Long said. “Faith in God, faith in our boys. They’re really stepping up. It’s all about that next guy in line that steps up and battles his tail off.”
The Wildcats got 13 points from sophomore guard Sean Choate and a team-high 15 points from leading scorer Miles Crawford, while senior post Justin Griffin chipped in 10.
Much like in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 4 in Denton, the Wildcats were put in a hole to start the game. In that earlier game, Guyer trailed by 11 points at the half before No. 12 Nelson (22-5, 8-2) pulled out a four-point win.
Long was not pleased with his team’s first-half performance in that game.
On Tuesday night, the Wildcats trailed by seven points at the half and by as many as 10 in the second quarter before using a big second half, led by Crawford’s 12 points, to close the game out in the end.
“Our second half was huge,” Long said. “We came out ready to play [this time], but Byron Nelson is a really good team with great leaders. At halftime there were no players hanging their heads. They were all confident. They were all saying we’d get this one.”
The Wildcats began their comeback early in the third quarter and went on a 7-0 run that culminated in a Jerrod Heard layup off a beautiful pass from Crawford to give Guyer its first lead since 11-9 at the beginning of the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats began to pull away thanks to their performance at the foul line, as they went 8 for 10, and a defensive effort that allowed only five points.
Senior guard Keyunta Watkins led Nelson with a game-high 20 points.
Long said the major difference between Tuesday’s game and that first meeting was the way his team did the things that do not show up in the stat line — help-side defense, going after loose balls and more.
“I thought we did the little things right tonight,” Long said. “In that first game we didn’t do that, but we did everything tonight. We did all the little things.”
Now, the Wildcats are rewarded with first place in the district and the opportunity to claim their first district championship in basketball — boys or girls — in school history.
But first thing’s first — the Wildcats play host to Lake Dallas on Friday night.
“I’m happy with our position, but we go game by game and Lake Dallas is a really good, athletic team,” Long said. “We just have to go play our game and prepare like we did for Denton and Byron Nelson.”
Guyer 50, T.C. Nelson 47
The Lady Wildcats used a huge fourth quarter from junior point guard Quamese Moss to clinch the second seed out of District 5-4A with a win over third-place Nelson.
Moss had only six points entering the fourth quarter, but scored 12 in the fourth, including eight from the foul line, as the Lady Wildcats (20-7, 10-2) shot 15 for 20 from the line as a team.
“She was huge for us,” Guyer head coach Harold Colson said. “It took her a little while to get going and get aggressive going to the basket. But down the stretch with her drives and aggressiveness, she was huge in helping us get some points on the board and made some key free throws.”
Tierney Peters continued her hot shooting streak by scoring 14 points, including 4 for 5 from 3-point range. Colson said he has been impressed with Peters’ recent play.
“She is really feeling it right now,” Colson said. “I think some of that has to do with the confidence I’ve had in her to just throw her out there and let her make the mistakes she’s going to make sometimes. You have to take the bad with the good, and she’s giving us a lot of good. She’s been awesome.”
The win over the Lady Bobcats (19-11, 8-4) keeps Guyer two games behind first-place Wichita Falls Rider, the state’s sixth-ranked team. Guyer will meet Rider in the regular-season finale next Tuesday, but the Lady Raiders must lose a game before then for Guyer to have a shot at claiming part of the district crown.
Colson said it was nice to know where his team stands with two games remaining in the regular season, as Guyer will play host to Lake Dallas on Friday before the season finale at Rider.
“Looking ahead and what we have coming in the playoffs, we definitely wanted the second seed with how the bracket set up,” Colson said. “Getting second place in a district like this is really satisfying.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
GUYER 49, TROPHY CLUB NELSON 43
Guyer (19-6, 9-1) — Jerrod Heard 4, D.J. Breedlove 3, Sean Choate 13, Shelton Childress 2, Miles Crawford 15, Alex Partridge 2, Justin Griffin 10.
Nelson (22-5, 8-2) — Thomas Williams 1, Conor Mullis 6, Keyunta Watkins 20, Peter VanHouten 3, Emmanuel Nzekwesi 13.
GUYER 50, TROPHY CLUB NELSON 47
Guyer (20-7, 10-2) — Quamese Moss 18, Ola Akinniyi 2, Tierney Peters 14, Jada Calloway 6, Madison Franklin 4, Bre Wickware 2, Bre Clay-Baker 4.
Nelson (19-11, 8-4) — Tralyn Woodard 13, Shaila Wolter 9, Sydney Smallwood 12, Abbey Reed 6, Halet Vaitai 1, Dee Robinson 6.