HARKER HEIGHTS — The Harker Heights Lady Knights overcame a slow start and late foul trouble to beat the Leander Rouse Raiders 50-41 on Friday.
Rouse dominated in the post, but a streak of 3-pointers quickly put Heights in front for good.
“We knew Rouse was going to play good defense,” said Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson. “It was nice to come out of this game with a win with how tough Rouse played all game.”
The Lady Knights were outscored in the first quarter 18-13 behind the superb defensive play of Rouse senior Mariah Merriweather and freshman Jennifer Parker. Heights stayed in the game behind the work of senior Angela Delaney at the charity stripe.
The second quarter saw the Knights come alive. A salvo of 3s from junior Alexus Dukes enabled Heights to overcome its rebounding disadvantage, and saw them head into the locker room with a 32-28 lead.
“We knew Rouse was going to rebound well,” said Nelson. “We even practiced rebounding specifically yesterday. When I called timeout and pulled the team in, I said, ‘What did we talk about in practice?’ Then I put in Tamia James and she blocked out, got rebounds, and that earned her minutes. If you do what I ask you to do, you stay out on the court.”
In the second half Heights began to pressure Rouse, forcing turnovers and gaining open looks, helping Heights build its lead.
The fourth quarter was where things got interesting, with a paltry eight points scored between both teams. Nursing a nine-point lead, Heights put the ball into the hands of Dukes, whose ballhandling allowed Heights milk three minutes off the clock on one possession.
“We had a lot of fouls in the second half,” Nelson said. We couldn’t afford to foul, so we played keep-away. We’re not a very big team, and we play a lot of guards. When you have that, you can dribble. You work with the skills you got, and we can dribble.”
The Lady Knights test their unbeaten mark at home Tuesday against Round Rock Cedar Ridge, while the Rouse Raiders head to Round Rock for their next contest.