On Tuesday, a gritty Harker Heights team was defeated by No. 2-ranked DeSoto 55-43 in the Sweet 16 at University High School (Waco). On Wednesday, Knights head coach Celneque Bobbitt talked with the Herald’s Allan Mandell.

First, congratulations to you on winning the District 8-5A championship, the Bi-district championship, the area championship and being a regional qualifier.

Thank you. We were only one game away from being where we wanted to be. At the start of this season, with Cameron DeLaney and Josh DeLaney and Roderick Taylor all signing with D-I schools, we had a target on our back. We got ranked high in the polls before the season started. It felt good that our program has got to this point — being recognized like that. But, again, that means we are targeted. Our guys fought through a lot to get where we got to.

Coach, that crowd last night was electric.

Yes, it was. It was an amazing crowd. They sold out the place and almost that entire crowd was rooting for us. My high school coach Bo Burgess shows up and that inspired me. I saw coaches in our district there: Coach White, Coach Huggins, Coach Prichett and Coach Jones. That shows how special the area that we play in actually is.

And then Marvin Moore’s dad shows up. I can’t tell you how meaningful that was to me. Marvin Moore was my high school teammate.

Despite that cold spell your team went through in that second quarter, your team’s defense — I’m guessing you feel this way — was excellent throughout. True?

I sure do feel that way. As you know, my rule is that we never allow a team to get over 50 points on us. Well, we’re facing DeSoto, one of the top teams in America, and they get 53. That’s not too shabby. And they’ve got a bunch of guys over 6-8.

And we can point out that DeSoto only had 44 points with 1:55 to play. They scored a bunch of those points in the closing minute when you had to foul.

Exactly. I have no complaints at all with the way my guys played in their final game.

I would like to point out, too, that I’m lucky to have the assistant coach of the year on my bench — Karron Taylor.

There are two generals on our bench. I’m thunder and lightning. I can be loud and my guys can get scared of me.

But Coach Taylor will just give you the look and that’s all it takes. His look says to our kids, “You will accept our coaching.”

Four of your seniors deserve a lot of credit for this miracle ride: the DeLaneys, Cody Halvorson and Roderick Taylor.

Yes, they deserve a lot of credit. Cody came to us as a freshman weighing, maybe, 105 pounds. He looked like a surfer boy. But, lo and behold, he starts the first game of his junior year for Harker Heights. We called him “butter” because every time the ball goes off his hands it’s like butter in the cup. He was the ultimate team player.

Roderick Taylor? He’s a big old teddy bear. But he wants to be Godzilla on the basketball court. He wants to be the enforcer. He’s like Superman. Then, when he’s walking in our halls at school, he looks like Clark Kent.

He’s heading to Louisiana-Monroe and they got themselves a steal.

The DeLaneys lived up to their billing. They played like champions on Tuesday and that is what they are. They are great kids.

What people don’t understand is they wake up at 6 a.m. and get their 500 jump shots in. They shoot at least 2,500 3s a week. So, when they get in the game, they have the confidence that they can knock down at least four or five of those long-range shots.

We won 27 games this year and the credit belongs to our kids, not me. Our kids all worked hard in the weight room and they did it on their own.

This was a special group, this class of 2014. They proved something that I’ve always believed: It’s not what you do on game nights that matters, Tuesday and Friday, it’s what you do on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and the weekend. Are you working on the off days?

This bunch always did.

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566​ and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com

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