Celeneque Bobbitt knows something has to change.
After an up-and- down start to the season, Harker Heights opened District 8-6A play last week against visiting Waco Midway with the hopes of finding consistency.
But it did not happen.
The Knights fell into an early hole and never recovered, losing 60-45.
Now, Harker Heights must wait until Jan. 2, when the Knights travel to San Angelo Central, for a chance to even their district record, and in the meantime, the Knights’ head coach intends to alter his team’s chemistry.
“The good thing is we’ve got a couple days to get some good practice in,” Bobbitt said, “and we can see who really wants to be here, who can do some things and put our thumb on them.
“It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, because once we get past the Christmas break, there are no more excuses.”
Harker Heights will take part in the annual two-day Killeen Classic beginning Wednesday, and it will serve as the final tune-up before the Knights turn their attention solely toward the final 13 games of the district schedule.
To reach the playoffs, however, Harker Heights (8-8, 0-1) cannot repeat its performance against the Panthers.
The Knights never led in the contest, tying the game 8-8 on Jarius Cherry’s 3-pointer, but Midway responded with seven unanswered points and took a 20-13 advantage into the second quarter.
The Panthers’ cushion inflated to nine points, 27-19, before Harker Heights closed the half with an offensive outburst of its own punctuated by Jalen Glover’s jumper at the buzzer, making the score 33-29.
The Knights would not get any closer, though.
Midway recorded the first six points of the third quarter and never slowed down as its lead ballooned to 53-38 with five minutes remaining in regulation.
“I have to do a better job of getting these kids prepared,” Bobbitt said. “Between the energy level, second-chance opportunities, hustle points and scrapping for loose balls — we didn’t win any of those battles.
“Midway wanted to bring it to us, and they did.”
Senior swingman Dashawn Walker led Harker Heights offensively with 11 points, and Dillon Gooding added eight points and three assists in the loss, while teammates Jalen Flowers and Cherry finished with six points apiece.
Like the Knights, the Bobcats will be looking to bounce back from a district loss when the teams meet after falling by 31 points, 104-73, to Copperas Cove.
And the schedule does not get any easier after the trip to San Angelo as Harker Heights will host No. 18 Ellison on Jan. 5 and play the Bulldawgs on the road Jan. 9.
So, during the holiday break, Bobbitt knows something has to change.
“I’m just wishing I could figure out this formula,” he said, “but every time I think I’ve got it, I put a positive with a negative or a negative with a positive.
“We’ve just got to regroup. One game isn’t going to kill us, but we’ve only got 13 games left to figure this out.”