At this point in the season, there are three types of basketball teams — teams fighting for playoff seeding, teams fighting for a playoff berth and teams fighting for pride.
The Krum Lady Cats locked up a playoff berth awhile ago, but their playoff seed is far from decided. Krum concludes District 9-3A play at 6:15 tonight at Gainesville, the district leader.
The Lady Cats (16-14, 5-2 district) trail Gainesville by a half-game coming into tonight’s contest. If Krum can pick up a victory, the Lady Cats will hold at least a share of the district title heading into the postseason.
“It’s pretty big for us when you’re looking down the road at the playoff brackets,” Krum coach Lana Degelia said regarding tonight’s game and the playoff seeding.
Krum and Decatur each have two district losses, while Gainesville (15-7, 5-1) has one. In the first district meeting between Gainesville and Krum, the Lady Leopards picked up a 56-45 victory.
This year will be the first year that four teams from each 3A district will make the playoffs. The four playoff teams from 9-3A will play the four playoff teams from District 10-3A.
Those 10-3A teams include Argyle, which is ranked second in 3A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Celina, another 10-3A team, is ranked third.
The third-place team in 10-3A, Frisco Lone Star, recently defeated Krum by two points in a nondistrict contest. Lone Star came close to handing Argyle (28-1, 6-0) its first loss to a 3A opponent since Krum knocked Argyle out of the 2013 3A playoffs.
“To not have to catch any of those guys in the first round would be huge, but you’re going to have to catch them somewhere,” Degelia said.
The 9-3A champion wouldn’t face a 10-3A opponent until the regional quarterfinals, where Krum topped Argyle in 2013 on the Lady Cats’ path to the state tournament.
Krum held a share of the 10-3A lead until it suffered a lopsided loss to Decatur last week. Degelia said the difference between last week and this week has been tremendous.
“Last week we had kids sick, we had kids out for different reasons and our practices didn’t go well,” Degelia said. “I think our play was proof of that.”
Now, Krum has an opportunity to close out the district schedule with back-to-back wins before it faces old rival Brock on Monday.
“I think it’s incredibly important to be peaking when you get into the playoffs,” Degelia said. “That’s when you should be playing your best ball.”
Ryan boys meshing, showing progress
It takes more than a brief glance at record books to see the progress Ryan’s boys have made this season.
When the squad stepped on the court for Wednesday’s practice, it was only the 21st time the group of players had practiced together. Continuity is starting to manifest itself on the court, as the Raiders (6-16, 0-6) are showing signs of improvement from the start of the season.
“That’s probably about a third of the practice time our opponents in this district have,” Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet said. “It’s not an excuse. It’s a reality. We’re getting better because we finally got some solid practices underneath our belt and kids are buying into their roles.”
Today when Ryan faces Coppell on senior night, the Raiders will be seeking their first District 5-5A win since joining Class 5A in 2012.
Looking at Ryan’s last two district contests, the Raiders have played teams much closer than they did weeks ago. Ryan faces a Coppell team that has one district win, but Overstreet said that number is not indicative of how good the Cowboys (17-11, 1-5) are.
The Ryan coach said he’s been happy with how the Raiders have competed in the previous two contests.
“I’m pleased with our progress,” Overstreet said. “The outcomes of the games are not entirely indicative of if we’re getting better, because I believe that we are, and the kids are doing what’s asked of them.”
Sanger playing well at right time of year
So far, the calendar change has been good for the Sanger Indians.
Sanger (15-12, 4-1 District 9-3A) has dropped only two of its 12 games in 2014 and is a game away from first-place Decatur in the 9-3A standings.
The Indians play their final home game at 7:30 tonight against Bridgeport (1-4 in district), and Sanger coach Robert Sikora is happy with his team’s recent play.
“It’s the best we’re playing this year, for sure,” Sikora said. “We’re playing well at the right time. Sometimes in the past we’ve peaked early, and we’re peaking at the right time.”
Following tonight’s contest, the Indians finish the season with road games against Gainesville and Decatur.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.