HARKER HEIGHTS — For Harker Heights senior Cody Halvorson, one of four players tied for most 3-pointers in a game in school history, the 3-pointer is a high percentage shot.
But Friday, Halvorson wanted a higher percentage shot, and it helped the Knights avoid an 0-2 start to the District 8-5A season.
With the score tied and 50 seconds to play, Halvorson took a pass in the left corner and drove baseline for a floater that put Heights ahead of Shoemaker for good in a 53-49 win at Heights gymnasium.
After a frustrating district-opening loss to Ellison on Tuesday, Halvorson said he simply wasn’t going to chance his team falling to 0-2 in league play.
“I mean I can shoot (3-pointers),” Halvorson said, “but I just thought the closer I am the better the chance it’s going in, and I want to get my team up and get the lead so we can actually get the win going into Christmas.”
Shoemaker, meanwhile, nearly erased a nine-point halftime deficit with the rally, only to see the host Knights take the game back in the final minutes for the Grey Wolves’ second straight loss to open district play.
“It definitely matters,” Shoemaker coach Emund Prichett said of the 0-2 start, “but we can crawl out of a hole.
“I’m not going to say I’m not worried, but I know these guys, I know their focus, and I think we can make a move.”
After falling behind 10 in the first half against Ellison, Heights got off to a better start Friday thanks largely to junior C.J. Bobbitt, who wanted desperately to put Tuesday’s six-point performance behind him.
“It was terrible,” Bobbitt said of the Ellison game. “I just went into the locker room just head down just feeling terrible. It was real bad.”
Bobbitt was held scoreless in the first half against Ellison on just one shot attempt. Friday, Bobbitt scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the first half to help stake the Knights to a 25-16 halftime lead.
Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt said the Knights’ teamwork and ball movement was also better to start the game against Shoemaker.
“We came out and played real good and solid in the first half,” he said, “and then in the second half, we got kind of helter skelter, especially in the fourth quarter right there at the end.”
Despite entering the final quarter down eight, Shoemaker whittled the Heights lead down to one with less than two minutes to play before Bobbitt put the Knights up three with a bucket in the lane.
But with 1:02 to play, Shoemaker senior Pat Mark canned a deep 3-pointer to tie the game at 49, part of 10 second-half points by the Grey Wolf sharpshooter.
Yet on the next possession, C.J. Bobbitt caught the ball near the top of the key and drove left before kicking it out to Halvorson, who gave Heights a lead it never relinquished with his big floater.
“The whole time before that play I’m thinking we can’t let this one go,” Halvorson said. “We were just up, we can’t let this one go, and I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team out, and it was a relief when I saw it drop through the net.”
Shoemaker held for the last shot on the next possession, but Shane Johnson, who had a game-high 17 points for the Grey Wolves, saw his fallaway just miss off the back iron.
“I’m proud of him and his effort,” Prichett said of Johnson. “Like I told him, if he keeps giving effort this team will get better and better.”
Heights’ D’Angelo Streeter then iced the game with a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds to play, giving the Knights a big win after a disappointing loss Tuesday.
“My hat goes off to Shoemaker because we were both in a must-win situation,” Celneque Bobbitt said. “And it was a hard situation. But I’m glad that we got it taken care of.