Area Basketball Notebook

Killeen’s Dant’e Ellis-Thomas goes up for a shot between two Bryan defenders during the Roos’ 66-62 overtime victory Friday at the Killeen gym. The Roos improved to 3-0 with the win.

Jaime Villanueva | Herald

The front of the Killeen boys basketball team’s home uniforms reads “Runnin’ Roos,” but in the second half of Killeen’s overtime home win against Bryan, the team played at a pace more suited for a speed walking Roo.

Despite slowing down the game and playing at a half-court pace offensively, Killeen (3-0) still got the job done with a 66-62 win over the Vikings (2-3).

“This game is about grinding,” Killeen senior Brian Long said. “It’s a physical game so that’s what you have to do. You have to grind it out, you have to be physical.”

The Roos entered halftime facing a 38-35 deficit, but they started taking advantage of the size advantage with Long and Melvin Anthony in the post.

Killeen started setting up in their half-court offense and throwing the ball inside more often.

Long, a Texas -Pan American signee, and Anthony, an Arkansas-Fort Smith signee, combined to score 15 points after the intermission.

Killeen took 21 shots from 3-point range in the first half, but only three in the second half. The Roos also finished with a 44-26 edge in rebounds.

“Me and Melvin have a competition in practice, who can get the most rebounds,” Long said. “Then we go into the game and we tell each other whoever gets fewer rebounds in games and in practice has to run suicides (drills).”

Killeen managed to hold on and force overtime despite a field goal drought of more than 11 minutes. The Roos scored all six of their points in the fourth quarter and their first of overtime from the free throw line.

“That’s basketball,” Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said. “You’re not going to make everything, but we grinded it out and came out with the victory.”

Harker Heights boys embrace challenge of road schedule

By the end of the first month of the 2013 season, Harker Heights will have played a grand total of three games, all on the road.

Nearly a month after its season opener, Heights will finally play its first home game against God’s Academy on Dec. 3.

But the Knights are bonding with all the time on the road.

And they are winning.

Heights, up to No. 15 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll, moved to 2-0 on the season with a last-second win against No. 8 Austin LBJ on Tuesday and will continue its road campaign with a visit to Waco University on Tuesday.

Knights junior Celneque Bobbitt II had the game-tying putback against LBJ and was fouled in the process. The defending 8-5A Newcomer of the Year then drilled the ensuing free throw to win the game.

Heights will go a week between its game against University and its game against God’s Academy, which it has done for each game this season, so the Knights are used to it at this point.

After that, Heights will play its first tournament of the season at the Garland ISD Tournament.

— Jordan Mason

Just three games in, Badgers ride roller coaster

Lampasas has already experienced the extremes.

Just three games into the season, the Badgers have felt the bitter sting of a one-point loss and the pure elation of a comeback victory. And, according to Lampasas senior Ralph Marez, the Badgers are also already familiar with how it feels to have their backs against the wall.

After losing the season opener to Austin Lanier, Brady escaped Lampasas with a 48-47 victory in overtime, but the Badgers avoided an 0-3 start to the season Saturday afternoon by rallying for a 59-57 win against visiting Canyon Lake.

For Marez, the third game of the season had a playoff feel.

“This was a must win,” the post said. “I knew somehow we had to get this win. To get it like this is pretty good. Now that we’ve got this first win out of the way, there is going to be better progress from here on.”

Perhaps no Lampasas player has experienced a more extensive spectrum of emotions than Shonderius Howard.

Despite producing 28 points in the home opener versus Brady, Howard missed a potential game-winning free throw with less than two seconds remaining in regulation. Instead of clinching the win, the game went into overtime, and the Bulldogs survived by a single point.

In their next game, however, Howard was responsible for 34 points, helping rally the Badgers out of a 57-50 hole in the fourth quarter by hitting the game-tying and game-winning shots in the final 60 seconds.

Howard’s layup with 3 seconds remaining gave Lampasas its first win of the season and renewed a trust within himself.

“In the (Brady) game, I feel like I lost it for us with the missed free throw,” Howard said. “This time, to secure the win for us, it feels really good. It gets my confidence back up.”

The Badgers will look to continue their winning ways against their most touted opponent to date. Ranked No. 24 in the current Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ Class 2A poll, Salado hosts Lampasas on Tuesday. The Eagles (2-1) are coming off a 68-55 loss at Mexia.

While happy to finally collect a win, Badgers head coach Rob Shivers knows his team still has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential.

“I thought we had so many easy looks that we just didn’t finish,” he said of Saturday’s game against Canyon Lake, “and at the free-throw line, we were horrible (11 of 31). So, our execution will get better. ... The biggest thing we are selling is just to play with effort, and that is what they did.”

— Clay Whittington

Salado girls regaining confidence after 0-2 start

The Salado girls’ 0-2 start to the 2013 season seems like a while ago these days.

Since the slow start, the Lady Eagles have ripped off four straight wins, the latest an impressive 40-34 victory on the road against Gatesville.

The Lady Eagle defense was particularly impressive as Salado held Gatesville to 19 points in the first half then upped the intensity to hold the Lady Hornets to just four points in the third quarter.

Despite being outscored 11-6 in the final quarter, Salado allowed only one field goal in the fourth.

Ashley Adams and Taryn Kornegay led Salado with 10 points each in the game.

The Lady Eagles will visit Marlin today before breaking for the holiday.

Salado will open December by hosting its Coach Smith Tournament Dec. 5-7.

— Jordan Mason

Florence takes control of paint, game against Waco Meyer

Brooklynne Owens’ putback with 5:13 remaining in the second quarter doesn’t jump out much in the play-by-play or box score for the Florence Lady Buffs, but in reality it marked a turning point in the game.

Owens’ rebound and ensuing bucket extended Florence’s lead to 14-10, but more importantly, it served as a point at which the Lady Buffs would take control of the inside and the game during a 51-34 win over Waco Meyer at the Holland Tournament on Thursday.

“I had a height advantage in there with them,” Florence senior post Rebecca Horton said. “The more we played, the more they got tired.”

Florence used the size advantage of players like Owens and senior Rebecca Horton to score 26 of 39 points after the opening quarter in the paint.

The Lady Buffs scored their first 12 points on jump shots, with Shali Simpson providing eight of her 14 points in the opening frame.

After the first quarter, Simpson was able to penetrate the Lady Ravens defense and dish off inside the paint for easy baskets.

The Lady Buffs finished the game with a 24-15 edge in rebounds.

— Albert Alvarado

Lometa’s long layoff

Almost as quickly as it began, Lometa found its season at a standstill.

After being ranked No. 17 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ preseason poll and waiting for the football team’s short-lived playoff run to conclude so its roster could be complete, Lometa finally got its chance to prove itself on the court.

In the season opener against Priddy, the Hornets did just that, decisively beating the Pirates 81-38 on the road.

The early momentum has all but evaporated since, however, as Lometa’ second game was canceled, causing the Hornets to sit idly for a full week before getting to play a second game.

Although the layoff was unexpected, Lometa head coach Aaron Nuckles quickly found a silver lining.

“I thought it would be a negative, but after the solid start (against Priddy), it gave us a chance to be in practice for three-plus days without having to prep for a game,” he said. “It’s been kind of nice. And (senior post) Shane Stone has been (medically) cleared, so he needed the gym time, too. It kind of worked out nice for us.”

— Clay Whittington

Contact Albert Alvarado at

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