Harker Heights has already clinched a postseason berth, and its race with Shoemaker for the No. 1 playoff seed likely won’t be decided until the final game of the regular season Tuesday.
But the No. 13 Knights (23-4, 9-3 8-5A) still have a season goal they can achieve when they host Belton at 7 tonight.
Heights has yet to lose at home this season and the Knights can achieve their goal of going undefeated on their home court.
The Knights are fresh off a 76-67 win against Copperas Cove, where they led by as many as 12.
Heights has seen big leads in each of its district home games this season, and senior Josh DeLaney credited the fans for the Knights’ big homecourt advantage.
“We have a great fan base that comes to every game no matter how far — they came to tournaments, they came to everything,” DeLaney said. “Plus (head coach Celneque) Bobbitt has a rule that we don’t lose at home, so we’ve got to abide by Bobbitt’s rules and not lose at home.”
Against Cove, it also didn’t hurt that the Bulldawgs gave the Knights a bit of extra motivation leading up to the game.
The first came when Bobbitt was notified of a story in the Killeen Daily Herald in which Cove players said they were eager to avenge a loss to Heights from earlier in the season and had been looking forward to the rematch Tuesday.
“Somebody had to call me and say Copperas Cove is talking junk in the paper, so I had to go get the newspapers that I get for my class everyday and read the junk that was being talked in the paper,” Bobbitt said. “(But) you can’t call me out until you beat me.”
The players then took offense in the pregame when they felt slighted by Cove players in the warmup.
“When we ran out, Cove was out there and they were disrespecting us by getting hyped on our Knight emblem,” Cameron DeLaney said after the game. “So, that already started the fire, and we just came out ready to hoop.”
But it wasn’t the first time Heights has been in either situation this season — Ellison actually took offense to quotes from Heights players in advance of the teams’ second meeting, and Pflugerville occupied the Knights’ emblem at halfcourt in non-district play.
Because of that, Heights took the situation in stride
In fact, after the game, Heights was actually more focused on its inability to hit late free throws and execute its offense once Cove began doubling players in the post.
And while Heights has its eye on the goals still in front of it, the Knights aren’t getting swept up in the district race — just taking it a game at a time in hopes that the race will resolve itself.
“We’re not really worried about (Shoemaker),” Josh DeLaney said. “We’re just trying to play our game, win our last two games and if they happen to lose that’s great.