There can be only one LeBron James.
But Killeen junior Brian Long was almost cavalier in the way he brought the heat in the Killeen Kangaroos’ 68-54 win over Austin Hyde Park Baptist on Tuesday.
Long scored 33 points, including 20 in the first half, to help the Runnin’ Roos win their seventh straight game.
“If that’s what I’ve got to do make the team win, I just put the team on my back and that’s what I do,” Long said. “Coach always tells me I’ve got the green light, so I just use what he says.”
Long, who also scored 33, including the game-winner, in the Roos’ 58-56 win over Liberty Hill in the championship game of the Marble Falls tournament on Saturday, scored 12 in the second quarter as Killeen (8-3) pulled away from the Panthers, who are ranked No. 19 among large private schools in the state.
“I told him at the beginning of the year, he’s got to be the LeBron James of this district. That’s the goal I gave him; that’s the expectation I have. And for us to be successful, he has to live up to those expectations,” said Killeen coach Reggie Huggins.
Hyde Park (7-6) trailed by as 15, but hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and cut Killeen’s lead to 11 with two minutes left, but Long scored on a put-back and added a layup in a 50-second span to stretch the lead to 14 with 1:01 left.
“In the past couple of years, he’s been on teams with TaShawn (Thomas) and Sedrick Jennings and teams like that, so last year, he was the man on the team and had to do things that I don’t know that he was completely ready for,” Huggins said. “But this year, ... he’s following it. He’s doing some things you see on TV.”
Damariel Baker and Melvin Anthony each scored nine for Killeen, which plays in the Granbury tournament later this week, and Bradley Vaught led Hyde Park with 18, eight in the fourth quarter.
Long scored Killeen’s first four points and eight of the Roos’ 13 in the first quarter take a meager 13-12 lead into the second.
Killeen scored seven unanswered to start the second quarter, getting a layup from Akeem Harrison and a three and a fast-break dunk from Long to give the Roos a 20-12 lead with 5:42 left in the half. Vaught hit back-to-back layups for Hyde Park, but Killeen never stopped scoring. Following a turnover that led to Vaught’s first layup, the Roos scored on all but one possession in the final 4:44 of the first half. Long scored the final seven points of a half-closing 12-8 Killeen run that gave the Roos a 32-20 lead at the break. The Roos stretched that to 37-22 with a 6-2 run in the first 2½ minutes of the third quarter.
While not completely able to coast from there, the Roos were never really threatened after that to go into their second tournament of the season riding a mountain of confidence.
“We’re playing a lot of people, playing a lot of guys and everybody’s contributing, whether it’s through points, assists, rebounds, getting steals,” Huggins said. “We’re just trying to put together a total team effort and that’s what we keep getting, especially these last seven games.”
Goodwine gets busy in 2nd half of Lady Roos win
Jasmine Goodwine got plenty of help in the first half from her Killeen Lady Roos teammates. In the second half, the Rice-signed senior was there for them.
Goodwine missed her first four shots and was scoreless at halftime, but scored a team-high 17 points in the second half as Killeen won its second straight game, 59-51 over Leander Rouse.
“She woke up in the second half and started to get a little more confidence,” said Killeen coach Latisha Williams. “She knows that we need her and that that can’t happen in the future and hopefully it won’t. But, for the most part, I thought everybody woke up a little bit more in the second half.”
Raven Ringo hit three of Killeen’s four 3-pointers and scored 16 points and Esha Atkins scored eight of her 12 points in the first quarter to help the Lady Roos (7-3) lead 20-17 going into the second.
The teams went into the break tied at 27, but with six from Goodwine in the third — all in the first three minutes of the quarter — Killeen was able to pull away for a 41-36 lead going into the fourth and led by at least five the rest of the way.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562