HARKER HEIGHTS — The Harker Heights Knights built on their recent momentum with a 61-46 victory over Shoemaker on Friday night at home.
The Knights, who just handed Copperas Cove their third loss of district play Wednesday night in a 65-62 overtime victory, are now sitting at 3-2 in district.
“Winning against Cove,” senior Dashawn Walker said, “put us back into the hunt.
“And that gave us more momentum to beat this team.”
Shoemaker (13-9, 3-2 8-6A) started the game with a 6-0 run thanks to Du’Wain Thomas finding Jalen Childs waiting on the wing.
The Knights (9-10, 3-2) brought themselves within four by the end of the first quarter behind a 3-pointer from Keelan Downs and an easy layup from Jaylin Glover.
The second quarter saw scrabbling from both teams under the rim, back and forth throughout the period, but behind a solid blocking performance from Rhandy Hughes, the Knights offense inched closer to Shoemaker, cutting the Grey Wolves’ lead to 22-18 at halftime
“Our defense is really what gets us going,” Walker said, “ and when we play good defense, it turns into good offense, especially when we’re playing as a team.”
The second half was a like a new game for Heights as it tied the score in the third quarter before taking the lead with a 3-pointer from Dillon Gooding, who finished with 13 points.
A 3-point shot from Kielan Smith started the Knights on an 11-0 run that included a easy layup from Walker.
Walker then stole the ball as the Wolves were inbounding and found Gooding waiting on the outside for another bucket.
A crossover layup from Walker ended the period with the Knights leading 39-30.
“I got caught in the moment gazing at my teammates,” Gooding said, “because everyone actually stepped up. Everyone just came of the bench and played their role exceptionally well.”
The fourth quarter started with another shot from the outside from Jairus Cherry, followed by a steal from Gooding who set up Walker for a dunk and pushed the Knights ahead by 16 points.
Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt attributes the Knights recent success to Gooding and Walker finally playing together as opposed to trying to out-do each other on the court.
“These two guys right here are finally wanting to be a team,” Bobbins explained.
Heights sent the Grey Wolves to the line nine times throughout the period but it wasn’t enough to help as two late free throws from Gooding sealed the victory.
“That’s what we got out of these guys today, a team win,” Bobbitt said. “Guys stepped up, Keelan Downs came in and did a real good job for us, stretching the floor, shooting those deep 3s.”
Walker and Cherry each scored 14 points to lead Heights.
J’wan Roberts led Shoemaker with 19.
“This is what everyone wanted,” Gooding added. “Everyone deemed us as the underdogs. They already marked us down to lose.
“But we’re here to prove them different.”
While the team is pumped up by their two-game winning streak, Bobbitt aims to keep them focused on the work that is yet to be done.
“We executed today, but as you saw, we still have to work on moving the ball,” he said.
“We had a few turnovers late, but defensively, we’re there and I’m pretty happy for the team right now.”
Friday’s 8-6A Scores
- No. 12 Ellison 37, Belton 35
- Harker Heights 61, Shoemaker 46
- Killeen 72, Copperas Cove 65, OT
- Waco Midway 95, San Angelo Central 42
- Shoemaker at San Angelo Central, 6 p.m.
- Copperas Cove at Belton, 7 p.m.
- No. 12 Ellison at Waco Midway, 7 p.m.
- Harker Heights at Killeen, 7 p.m.