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Split the difference: Boyd avenges earlier loss, beats McKinney
By Richard C. White, email@example.com
Backed by a strong first quarter output, McKinney Boyd held off its cross-town rival McKinney, 61-45, Tuesday night on the road to split the season series at one apiece.
"We needed this," said Dean Christian, Boyd head coach. "This was a good team we played. It's a scary place to play and they're really well-coached and they have a lot of talent. We were very pleased and fortunate to get out of there with a 'W.'"
Boyd (2-6) and McKinney (1-7) entered tonight's game tied with Plano Senior for the district's fourth and final playoff spot. With two games remaining before the playoffs, the Broncos are in the driver's seat in that they don't need any help as they can clinch the final spot by winning their last two games.
"When you can control your own destiny, that's huge," Christian said. "We gave ourselves a chance tonight and that's all you can ask for from your kids."
While the Broncos won by 16 points, the final score was not indicative of the game's close nature.
"It was a little bit closer than the score indicated," Christian said. "At the end there we knocked down some threes, but it was a close game."
Senior Faisal Mansour led the Broncos with a game-high 17 points.
"Faisal played with passion and a lot of energy," Christian said. "He really gave our ball club confidence. Anytime they were poised to make a run, he seemed to have the answer. He's the heart of our team."
In addition to Mansour's strong play, senior Michael Grant contributed nine points of his own, followed by eight from seniors Mikel Parish and Chris Stanton. Christian was also impressed by the defensive play he received from senior Daylon Markham.
"Daylon and Chris did an outstanding job for us defensively," he said. "And Michael came out and did a great job on the boards and scoring for us."
One of the things that plagued McKinney was its free-throw shooting, as the Lions missed out on several opportunities from the charity stripe. Adding to that was Boyd's ability to limit Jonathan Shannon, McKinney's talented senior guard, to only 14 points.
"We were able to keep [Shannon] off the boards," Christian said. "We were able to contain him. You can't stop him, but you can contain him and I felt we did a good job of that tonight."
Shannon led the Lions with 14 points, followed by senior Connor Fuentes, who scored eight and junior Remington Edwards, who scored seven.
A packed, spirited crowd was waiting at tipoff for the second installment of the cross-town rivalry. McKinney had beaten Boyd, 63-60, on Jan. 18.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm in the gym," Christian said. "The emotions run high in there when our two schools get together. It's such a huge rivalry that if we're both undefeated or both without a win that game is going to be electrifying."
The Broncos jumped out to a quick 21-9 lead through the first quarter.
"Tonight, especially early, one of our strengths was sharing the ball," Christian said. "We were looking for the next pass versus training to do it on our own. And when we do that, we're a pretty good basketball team."
The next two quarters would be much closer as the Lions would outscore the Broncos in the second, but Boyd's strong first quarter showing allowed it to take a nine-point lead into the half. The game would be equally tight in the third quarter as the Broncos outscored the Lions by just one.
Christian cited a lack of efficiency on the boards as the Broncos' main area of concern Tuesday night.
"I thought we gave away too many offensive rebounds tonight," he said. "You can't give teams multiple shots at the goal. So because of our size we have to do an excellent job of blocking out."
Boyd would return to form in the fourth, controlling the tempo the rest of the way for the victory. Boyd returns to action Friday at home against Plano West while McKinney travels to Plano Senior. Tipoff for both games is 7:30 p.m.
While the Broncos may have struggled through this district season, Christian is proud of the resiliency his players have shown as they control their playoff fate the rest of the way.
"You might worry that your kids can't overcome what has happened in the past," Christian said. "But that was by far the best district game we have had. We were able to put some things together tonight that we hadn't done before. If we're going to do it, if we're going to get it together, now is a great time."
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