The Killeen Kangaroos offense didn’t have a chance to do much against the Belton Tigers on Friday, until their defense got involved.
Killeen’s defense came up with some big plays in the second quarter, helping the team get back into the game and helping to set the stage for Devyn Williams’ dramatic putback at the buzzer that beat Belton 44-42 on Friday.
“Our game is to go up and down the court and impose our will, but this is a district game,” Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said. “Every game is hard, all these other games don’t mean anything. This game matters and everyone is going to play like it matters.”
Killeen (15-6, 2-1 District 8-5A) scored only 10 points on their home gym in the opening quarter for good reason, the Runnin’ Roos didn’t have many chances to go up and down the court and get transition buckets.
Belton (5-12, 1-2) used a patient offense to put up 13 points in the opening frame, but possessions often lasted more than a minute and Belton got most of its eight points in the paint in the quarter off backdoor cuts to the basket.
“It did kind of trick us at first, but we just had to settle down and identify the man,” Williams said. “We weren’t really talking out there.”
Belton continued to get points as the game progressed on jump shots.
The Tigers took only five shots in the opening quarter, made four and turned the ball over only three times.
“We did what we wanted to do offensively,” Belton coach Charlie Lewis said. “The guys really worked hard and executed.”
From there, Killeen got back to playing its game by forcing seven Belton turnovers and scoring 10 points off those Tiger mistakes.
Killeen’s shooting percentage went from 33 percent (4 of 12) in the first quarter to 53 percent (7 of 13) in the second.
The Roos also got two key steals from both Melvin Anthony and Mikell Clark that led to easy layups in the final minute of the first half.
“We knew we could press them and we knew that we could get them to turn the ball over, and they did for the most part,” Huggins said.
The Roos entered the second quarter facing a three-point deficit, but went into the locker room at halftime with a 28-26 lead.