On Saturday, the Denton boys will be looking for that final play, the strong finish that was lacking in Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Trophy Club Nelson, when the Broncos were a few plays away from wrapping up District 5-4A’s final playoff berth.
But Denton has another chance to find a way into the postseason. The Broncos will be part of a three-team tournament to break the deadlock for fourth place in the district.
Denton coach Harold Jackson was proud of the way his team fought against Nelson, the 5-4A champion.
“We played a tremendous game,” Jackson said. “They just made one more play than we did. That was the difference in the game, and I think if we come out and try to make one more play than the other team on Saturday, everything will be fine.”
Following their 66-54 overtime loss to the Bobcats, the Broncos found themselves in a three-way tie with Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider for the last playoff berth.
Wichita Falls and Rider will play at 7:30 tonight at Midwestern State. Since Denton won the coin toss between the three teams, the Broncos (8-14) will face the winner of tonight’s game at 5 p.m. Saturday in Bowie.
All three teams finished with 7-7 district records. Denton split its two games against Rider and two with Wichita Falls. The Broncos’ close contest against Nelson almost gave Denton another victory over one of the district’s top teams. Denton defeated Guyer (23-7), the district’s second-place finisher, at home.
The Denton coach said he didn’t have any feelings about the toss keeping the Broncos from playing an extra game.
“We’re going to have to play somebody, whether we play have to play two [games] or have to play one,” Jackson said. “We got the luck of the draw, and we’re fortunate to get the bye and just play one.”
Jackson said that in the eight years he’s been the team’s head coach, the Broncos have never made back-to-back playoff appearances. Last season, Denton reached the area round of the playoffs before losing to Fort Worth Trimble Tech.
Two years ago, Denton found itself in a similar situation. The Broncos faced Wichita Falls in a one-game playoff to advance to the postseason and were unable to come up with a victory.
Jackson said that in order to keep the same thing from happening, his squad will have to play good defense, rebound the ball well and do all the little things correctly. Jackson said that with his team in a must-win situation for the remainder of the season, the Broncos have to be hungrier than Saturday’s opponent.
If the Broncos can do that, Denton will have its second straight playoff berth.
“It’ll be huge for the school and for the program,” Jackson said. “It’ll give the kids a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Ryan hopes to gain experience from adversity
On Thursday afternoon, most of Ryan’s players filed through the boys basketball coaches’ office and went to claim their belongings.
Wednesday’s loss to Hebron wrapped up Ryan’s season and the second straight year the Raiders went winless in District 5-5A play. Ryan head coach Bryce Overstreet said that despite the team’s struggles, he was pleased with the resiliency of the squad during a tumultuous year.
“It was less than desirable by everybody,” Overstreet said. “Losing’s never fun. It’s never enjoyable, but I think the kids did a great job of fighting through adversity day in and day out. Their spirits were high throughout the season, and we’re excited about returning most of our varsity team next year.”
Ryan (6-20, 0-10 district) struggled to score throughout district play. The Raiders never scored more than 45 points in a district contest and knocked down 34 percent of their shots in 5-5A play. Ryan junior Ibrahim Logan led Ryan in scoring during district play, averaging 8.8 points per game.
Along with having a young squad, the Raiders were saddled with a district where each of the other five teams won at least 19 games overall.
Ryan will return a lot of the key contributors from this year, and Overstreet was pleased with the effort this year’s squad gave.
“These kids showed up and continued to work hard,” Overstreet said. “I was extremely proud of them. I think this group actually has a pretty good perspective on big picture, which shows a sense of maturity in these kids.
“We’ve already talked about this offseason and what needs to be accomplished this offseason in order to come back next November ready to go.”
Argyle, Guyer girls continue playoff trek
Two area girls teams will look to extend their playoff runs tonight.
Guyer (24-5) will face Cleburne at 8 p.m. at Weatherford in a Class 4A Region I matchup. Cleburne is the District 8-4A champ, while Guyer finished second in 5-4A. The winner will face Aledo or Nelson in the regional quarterfinals.
Argyle (31-1), the No. 2 team in Class 3A according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, faces Dallas Roosevelt at 7 tonight at Carrollton R.L. Turner in the 3A Region II area round.
Argyle enters the contest following a 42-22 win over Sanger, while Roosevelt defeated Anna 54-21. The winner of the game faces Decatur or Princeton in a Region II quarterfinal.
Guyer boys set for rematch with Saginaw
When the Guyer Wildcats open the Class 4A boys playoffs, they’ll face a familiar opponent in the bi-district round.
Guyer will face Saginaw at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Keller Central. The Wildcats finished second in 5-4A, while Saginaw finished third in 6-4A.
Last season, the two teams also met in the first round. The Wildcats won 63-39 before losing to Fort Worth Arlington Heights in the area round.
Argyle, Sanger boys to square off in first round
Argyle’s and Sanger’s boys teams will play each other in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs. The Region II matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Denton. Sanger finished second in District 9-3A, while Argyle finished third in 10-3A.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.