The future of the Killeen Lady Roos basketball program was on display Tuesday night at Shoemaker High School, and that future has a name.
The 5-foot-6 point guard drained four 3-pointers, scored a game-high 22 points, dished four assists, made four steals and led the Lady Roos to a 52-40 road win over the Lady Grey Wolves.
And, to be sure, with Harston as its floor general, the present looks pretty darn good, too, for the Lady Roos.
“For us, Tia was absolutely the key to winning this game tonight,” said 10-year Killeen head coach Latisha Williams. “She was definitely the one consistent player for us in terms of her ball-handling abilities, running our offense, keeping her poise, and scoring.”
“Tia did an amazing job for us tonight,” said Lady Roos 5-11 senior forward Ceida Williams.
Led by two first-quarter Harston treys, the Lady Roos (5-6, 2-1) raced out to a 14-0 lead. Killeen’s defense was tenacious, too. Shoemaker scored its first points with just 18 seconds left in the first quarter.
Trailing by 12 after one quarter, Shoemaker (3-7, 1-2) retaliated in the second frame. Within a 1:31 span, Shoemaker forward Hannah Jones made four unanswered field goals. And with four minutes left in the half, Killeen’s lead was just 16-10.
With her team up 25-17 at halftime, Harston was dominant in the third quarter. She swished a 25-footer 30 seconds into the third frame and buried another trey 50 seconds before the quarter ended.
Shoemaker tried a full-court press but Harston repeatedly broke it with some nifty dribbling work and some alert, crisp passes.
By the time the fourth quarter began, the Lady Roos were up 44-24.
Led by two fourth-quarter 3-pointers from guard Yeritza Valentin, Shoemaker was able to close the gap to eight with 4:33 left. But that’s as close as things got.
For Killeen, Williams scored nine points, grabbed a game-high 11 boards, had four blocked shots and three steals.
“That’s what Ceida Williams does for us,” coach Williams said. “She really works hard and she crashes those boards.”
Also for Killeen, Keauanna Johnson scored eight points and Jacen Moore and Raven Ringo had four apiece.
For Shoemaker, Valentin had a team-high nine points, Jones scored eight, Makayla Gatewood and Mikayla Koester had five apiece and Kaitlynn Brown four.
But the pervasive postgame buzz revolved around the play of Harston.
“I knew I had to score tonight and be a leader,” said Harston. “I heard they were talking mess. They were thinking that they would beat us. We had to show them what the Kangeroos do.”
“I’m really proud of the way Tia played tonight,” coach Williams said. “Shoemaker was in her face the entire night and she did a great job handling all that pressure for us.”
“My coaches told me I needed to be the difference tonight,” Harston said. “As for being a leader, I do feel that responsibility. I try to lead in practice, during games, and watching film.”
With Harston running the show, the future looks bright for Killeen.
“We’re going to state this year,” said Harston.
And such an accomplishment would make this season, the present, pretty darn good, too.
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his blog on KDHPressbox.com