TEMPLE — In a performance that typified their season, the Temple Wildcats played tough, but made too many mistakes late in a 49-42 loss to the Killeen Kangaroos in a District 8-5A game at Wildcat Gym.
Mikell Clark led the Kangaroos with 15 points while Brian Long added 12 to help the Roos clinch a playoff spot.
Sophomore guard Logan Hicks led the Wildcats with 12 points, while Jordan Lee had 10.
Lee scored on a putback early in the fourth quarter that gave Temple (9-17, 3-9) a 38-34 advantage, before Killeen (21-9, 8-4) outscored the Wildcats 15-4 the remainder of the game. The Kangaroos drained 13 of 18 free throws in their game-ending run to seal the outcome.
Killeen is two games behind Harker Heights and Shoemaker for the top spot in District 8-5A and is two games ahead of fourth-place Copperas Cove.
The Roos can clinch at least the No. 3 seed out of the district on Friday with a win at Cove.
Marty Garcia wanted to change the mindset and culture of Temple boys basketball in his first season as the Wildcats’ coach. With two games remaining in the season, he feels like he has made plenty of progress toward achieving that goal.
“The major goal this year was to change how our basketball players approach the game,” Garcia said. “We’ve definitely come in this first year and changed the mindset and the culture, that mediocrity is not acceptable. We’re going to work hard every day. We’re going to play tough and we’re going to play together.”