When they needed it most, the Granbury Pirates basketball team got perhaps their biggest victory of the season, 61-54 over Fort Worth Southwest Friday at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
The win kept the Pirates (15-11 overall) tied for third in 7-4A with Arlington Heights, each 6-3. They lead Aledo by two games in the chase for a playoff berth, and the two teams meet in Aledo Friday.
Granbury won the first meeting 75-72 at the James Wann Sports Center on Jan. 8.
But the Pirates needed more than a win, according to head coach David Breazeale and assistant Josh Jones. They needed a strong performance throughout the game, something that has eluded them of late.
“I told Josh before the game this will be our biggest win of the year,” said Breazeale.
The Pirates were ripe for being upset. They had dropped five of their past eight and, despite beating Western Hills 66-56 in their previous outing, they had struggled on defense, especially late in games.
Meanwhile, Southwest, virtually eliminated from playoff contention, has been playing with a nothing-to-lose attitude that saw them very nearly upset district runner-up Trimble Tech before falling 55-54. Also, Granbury was trying to defeat the Raiders for a third time this season, never an easy task.
“They are playing great. You watch. In this second half (of district) Southwest is going to beat somebody,” said Jones.
But it would not be Granbury, thanks largely to a pair of clutch second-half performances from Nick Doughty and Klint Keating.
Doughty scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, and Keating came off the bench to score all nine of his points in the final two periods – including five in the fourth.
“You don’t expect a kid who’s eight or nine in the rotation (Keating) to do that,” said Breazeale. “He moves up toward the front of the bus.”
The Pirates actually trailed 23-19 at the half and had three starters with three fouls. However, they came out with a 23-9 run in the third quarter and used their bench strength to help them take control.
“I’m pleased with our mental toughness that turned into physical toughness,” said Jones.
“If we’d defended like we did Tuesday (against Western Hills), we would have been behind 34-19 at the half,” said Breazeale.
“But the kids were focused on defense tonight. They were talking on the court, and it made a difference.
“Even in the fourth quarter, when Southwest scored 22 points, we played great defense. They just hit some impossible 3-point shots even with our guys all over them.
“But it’s still not where we are right now. It’s where we are at the end of the rainbow.”
The Pirates are chasing their first playoff berth since 1999.
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Granbury 8 11 23 19 – 61
Southwest 14 9 9 22 – 54
Granbury (15-11, 6-3 in 7-4A) scoring – Brandon Fichter 13, Nick Doughty 11, Collin McCann 11, Clay Brawner 10, Klint Keating 9, Jimmy Hodges 4, Jacob Taylor 3.
3-pointers – Granbury 4 (McCann 3, Taylor 1), SW 6.
Free throws – Granbury 13-20, SW 12-20.