Before C.J. Bobbitt had the play of Harker Heights’ season against No. 19 Flower Mound Marcus, there was a different hero for the No. 11 Knights.
Yes, it was Bobbitt who hit the game-winning shot in overtime to send Heights to a regional quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 DeSoto on Tuesday.
But the reason the Knights were even playing in overtime was an equally big shot in regulation by senior Cameron DeLaney, whose pull-up 3-pointer tied the game at 55 with six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Cameron hits that miracle 3, I call it,” head coach Celneque Bobbit recounted after the game. “The shot heard round the nation right there.”
But that shot was just a microcosm of how well the 6-foot-2 combo guard has been playing in the second half of the season.
DeLaney, an All-District 8-5A first teamer last season, has been a key contributor for the Knights all season. But the University of Denver signee has essentially led Heights in scoring since pouring in a game-high 21 points to help avenge a loss to Ellison in the teams’ Jan. 21 rematch.
“I’m just doing what my coaches tell me to do,” DeLaney said, “executing and just playing within the team.”
Whereas earlier in the season DeLaney was benched on multiple occasions for his shot selection, these days his timing has been impeccable.
Take, for example, his four-point play against Cedar Hill on Tuesday, which busted open the Knights’ bi-district round game in the second quarter.
DeLaney went on to score 10 of his game-high 21 points in the second as Heights took a 13-point lead into halftime and won by 20.
On Friday, the stakes were even higher when Heights, trailing Marcus, lost starting point guard Josh DeLaney, who fouled out with 6:11 to play. All of a sudden, in the midst of a rally, Cameron found himself without his brother and backcourt mate.
“I told him that he was the (point guard),” Josh said. “He’s got to bring the ball up now.
“He held the team together.”
After Josh had pulled Heights within one score on a 3-pointer before fouling out, Cameron responded on the Knights’ next possession by tying the game with a 3-pointer of his own.
It was part of a team-high 16 points and one of two 3-pointers he hit on the night.
The second one saved the Knights’ season.
And his teammates had faith in his shot as soon as it left his hands.
“I felt like it was going to go in,” C.J. Bobbitt said. “He shoots that shot all from district, preseason and in practice.”
“I knew it was going in,” Josh added matter-of-factly.
Like he has for the entirety of his recent tear, DeLaney deflected all the credit for his big shot.
Because after Heights saw its season flash before its own eyes Friday, he was just happy to be a reason the Knights were still playing.
“I’m just blessed, man,” DeLaney said, “just blessed.”