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Shoemaker isn’t Ellison, but as far as No. 10 Harker Heights is concerned, it might as well be.
No, the Grey Wolves aren’t the defending district champions.
No, they didn’t hand Heights a disappointing loss in the teams’ first meeting.
And no, it’s not a rivalry that strikes a chord from the Knights’ head coach down to the players.
But Shoemaker bears plenty of similarities to the Eagles, and for Heights, tonight’s matchup with the second-place Grey Wolves will be just as big as the Knights’ game against rival Ellison on Tuesday.
Perhaps that explains why junior C.J. Bobbitt was essentially looking to repeat Tuesday’s performance when asked about the Grey Wolves after Heights maintained its game lead on Shoemaker with a 66-52 win against Ellison on Tuesday.
“We have to just do the same thing that we did (against Ellison),” Bobbitt said, “play hard, play smart. …We’ve just got to play smarter than them.”
If Heights isn’t the hottest team in the District 8-5A it is Shoemaker, who hasn’t lost a district contest since Heights dropped it to 0-2 with a 53-49 win Dec. 20 in Harker Heights.
And the similarities to Ellison start with coach Emund Pritchett, who like Ellison coach Alberto Jones Jr., is also a former Eagle.
“Emund’s been coaching basketball or been associated with basketball all his life before he even got into it,” Heights head coach Celneque Bobbitt said. “He’s a Killeen guy too, so I know those kids are believing in what he says because he’s done it. He’s just like all of us that’s coaching a team.”
Also like Ellison, the Grey Wolves boast two athletic big men in Torenzo Saunders and Nykolas Dawson and an elite wing in Shane Johnson.
For Celneque Bobbitt, that means tonight’s game, like Tuesday, will come down to execution from start to finish.
“Shoemaker can go and put three or four athletes on the court just like we’re putting three or four athletes on the court,” Bobbitt said. “So now it depends on who’s going to execute and who’s going to do what they’re supposed to do.”