One day after a disappointing loss to Ellison — the Lady Knights’ first in league play this season — Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson wasn’t focused on the fact her team outscored the Lady Eagles over the course of three quarters Tuesday.
Instead, she was focused on a second quarter in which the Lady Knights scored just five points, turning a one-point deficit into a 10-point deficit by halftime.
“If you look at the box score, we’re even three quarters,” Nelson said. “Second quarter killed us. It was the difference in the ball game.”
Nelson was actually generous in her assessment Tuesday.
The Lady Knights weren’t just even with Ellison for three quarters. Outside of the second quarter, Heights outscored the defending district champs 42-40 at home Tuesday.
While that seems encouraging for Heights heading into a road bout with Shoemaker today, Nelson couldn’t bring herself to overlook the second quarter that cost her team the game.
“I’m more focused on the inconsistency,” she said. “Because at this point we shouldn’t be this inconsistent.”
Nelson said her team was flat in the second quarter.
That allowed Ellison to take advantage with its pressure defense and go into halftime with a 29-18 lead.
“We were boxing out, keeping them to one opportunity,” Lady Eagle coach Sherry McKinnon said. “Definitely, we applied a lot of pressure to them and tried to get them to make mistakes.”
But Heights stormed back in the fourth, pulling within single digits, only for Ellison to hold on for the win.
Alexus Dukes continued her stellar play against the Lady Eagles, following up a heroic performance against Killeen.
After scoring 19 points, including the game-winner, in a 67-66 win against Killeen on Friday, Dukes scored a team-high 16 against Ellison on Tuesday.
Angela DeLaney, who led Heights with 21 against Killeen, had 13 against Ellison.
Heights is now 2-1 in District 8-5A play, a game behind Ellison, which remained unbeaten at 3-0.
And heading into the game against Shoemaker tonight, Nelson said she and her staff have made adjustments in practice to try to eliminate the inconsistency that occurred against Ellison and in a come-from-behind win against Killeen.
Nelson said they’ve even asked players what they believe is the culprit.
“(We wanted to) kind of get their insight to see if we can nail down what it is exactly,” Nelson said. “Because maybe it’s something we’re missing as coaches.”
Nelson also said the Lady Knights have focused on fine-tuning aspects of the offense to prepare for Shoemaker, who she said is a strong defensive team.
And while Tuesday may have left a sour taste in its mouth, Nelson acknowledged there is no rest for the weary as Heights was preparing for a stiff test on the road against Shoemaker.
“Every night we go out and play it’s going to be a battle,” Nelson said.