It would certainly be understandable if Harker Heights were to peep ahead.
But that isn’t the Knights’ style these days.
Instead, as Heights prepares for its first area round game in two years, the No. 11 Knights are taking a cue from the team that dismissed them from the playoffs in the bi-district round last season.
“When we lost to South Grand Prairie, they were just saying next game,” Knight head coach Celneque Bobbitt said after Heights’ win against Cedar Hill on Tuesday. “They were counting them down. They said, ‘five more games.’”
But after defeating Cedar Hill —a team that it beat by just four in December—by a margin of 20 Tuesday, Heights has reason for optimism as the postseason picks up.
Cedar Hill finished only two games above .500 but has quality wins this season—like an 11-point victory against No. 5 South Grand Prairie.
Speaking of the Warriors, South Grand Prairie was one of two highly touted 7-5A teams that were pushed by 8-5A opponents Tuesday—the same 8-5A that Heights emerged from as district champion.
South Grand Prairie topped 8-5A runner-up Shoemaker 64-61 in overtime, and No. 2 DeSoto, the 7-5A district champ, was clinging to a two-point lead against Killeen with 1:08 to play before winning by nine.
Heights, meanwhile, beat Killeen by a combined 31 points in two meetings.
If nothing else, Heights knows that it is the champion of a district just as rugged, but not quite as heralded, as the mighty District 7-5A.
But what else the scores say is that Heights has a legitimate chance at a deep playoff run.
Only the Knights aren’t looking at it that way.
Heights has honed in on a one-game-at-a-time mentality and rightfully so.
Next up for the Knights is No. 19 Flower Mound Marcus, which ought to be feeling pretty good about itself also after defeating Irving by 31 Tuesday.
Also similar to Heights, the Marauders boast numerous quality wins this seaosn, including one against No. 6 Euless Trinity in non-district competition.
There are no easy draws in Region I, which Heights appears to understand.
It certainly explains the mentality heading into the area round of the playoffs.
“I’m just proud of the Knights,” Bobbitt said. “And we’re just going to try to get 32 more minutes.”
But what has become apparent is that when Heights puts together its best, or near its best, for 32 minutes it is as formidable as nearly any team in the state.
Now, they must find a way to do that four more times for a trip to Austin.
But Tuesday had to be an encouraging sign for the Knights.
Because if the win against Cedar Hill was any indication, Heights has what it takes to last deep into the postseason.
It just needs to keep putting together 32 minutes of basketball the way it did Tuesday against the Longhorns.
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562