Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson was up front and honest in discussing the positives from the Lady Knights’ district opening win against Belton on Tuesday — namely that there weren’t any before the fourth quarter.
But the final quarter, not to mention a 10-0 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a one-point lead to start the fourth, were enough for Heights to begin district play 1-0 thanks to a 41-37 win at Belton.
And if there was a major positive coming from the victory, it was that Heights was able to pull out a district game in which it didn’t play its best to start.
“We are going to have a better fight (next time that happens) because we’ve had an experience like that,” Nelson said.
After winning just two district games in 2012, falling behind nine on the road likely wasn’t the start Heights was looking for to open district play.
But Nelson suspected her team hadn’t recovered from a disruption in its pregame routine after she missed the opening minutes of the game because she was filling in as a coach for the freshman team at a different Belton gym.
The Lady Knights did, however, recover to pull ahead by one to start of the fourth, then closed the door on the Lady Tigers in the final period.
After Belton knotted the score at 29 on a three-point play by Kinsey Williams, Heights scored 10 of the next 12 points over a 4:30 minute span that essentially ended the game.
Junior Alexus Dukes scored 14 of her 16 points to lead all scorers in the second half.
Senior Angela DeLaney, a Sam Houston State signee, also added 12.
Yet Nelson said she felt like the Lady Knights underestimated Belton, which fell to 2-8 on the season with the loss.
Not only that, but the Lady Knights haven’t played many true road games this year.
“That really was like our first away game,” Nelson said. “We’re very comfortable with playing on our home court.”
That is where Heights will face its next challenge as it hosts Killeen in a matchup of 1-0 district teams tonight.
The Lady Knights can ill afford a slow start against the Lady Roos, who are coming off a district-opening win against Copperas Cove, but Nelson believes the challenge will be good for her squad.
“We’re going to have to hustle and we’re going to have to simply outwork them,” Nelson said. “Because we’re very similar… we just have to work harder than they do.”
That wasn’t an issue late Tuesday, when Dukes and DeLaney helped the Lady Knights avoid a disastrous start to the 2013 district season on the road.
But after a come-from-behind win against Belton to open league play, Nelson can be sure that her team will be ready to fight if it finds itself in adverse situations again.