• December 28, 2014

Early-season tests will benefit Lady Knights

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Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 4:30 am

After a 58-45 defeat at the hands of Round Rock Stony Point on Tuesday, the Harker Heights girls basketball team has now lost its last two games by a combined 51 points.

The Lady Knights ought to be just as encouraged as they were sitting at 2-0 after the first week of the season.

Heights hasn’t just lost two straight to any two teams.

The Lady Knights faced a Cedar Ridge team ranked No. 14 in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 5A poll and, on Tuesday, put up a fight against a Stony Point team ranked No. 3 in the same poll.

It isn’t hard to see how Stony Point earned its lofty ranking.

The Lady Tigers boast a pair of athletic 6-footers in junior Jordan Moore and senior Jaiton Walls and have the ability to fluster teams with a trapping press and suffocating 2-3 zone.

Except Heights was able to find plenty of breathing room against that zone in the first quarter Tuesday.

After Sam Houston State signee Angela DeLaney knifed into the lane for a fifth time and connected on a runner in the final minute of the first quarter, Stony Point abandoned its trusty zone.

This came after Delaney had scored seven of the Lady Knights’ nine points in the first quarter, which ended with the teams tied.

And Heights did that without one of its top players, as junior Alexis Dukes sat out the first quarter and a half after missing significant practice time due to a concussion the week before.

Stony Point ultimately pulled away in that game after Dukes returned, but it certainly wasn’t because of Dukes’ performance.

The junior ignited a Heights rally after the Lady Knights fell behind 17 points in the third quarter, contributing 11 points to a 16-5 run that helped Heights pull within six at the start of the fourth.

In two and a half quarters of action, Dukes finished the game with a team-high 18 points, looking every bit the part of a one-two punch with DeLaney that coach Shirretha Nelson hoped for before the season.

The loss, however, dropped Heights to .500 on the season, and the sledding doesn’t get any easier before district play begins Dec. 10 at Belton.

Heights heads to Fort Worth on Monday for the Lady Eagle Classic, hosted by Lake Country, the No. 4 team in the TABC Small Private poll.

“We’ve got a pretty tough preseason schedule — we don’t have any (pushovers) on our schedule,” Nelson said. “I think that’s great because it makes us step up every single game we get out here.”

There is still plenty of basketball to be played between now and the Lady Knights’ district opener against Belton, but if they can continue to improve against stiff competition they ought to be more than prepared for a playoff run.

The record may not show it now, and may not show it when district play begins, but Tuesday it certainly showed on the floor.

Now, the challenge is to continue trending upward between now and Dec. 10.

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