GLEN ROSE — Harker Heights head coach Celneque Bobbitt sprinted across the Tiger Arena floor.
Assistant coach Karron Taylor followed suit while senior Cameron DeLaney disappeared into a sea of arms of screaming Heights students.
Junior C.J. Bobbitt was the cause Friday, as his game-winning runner with seven seconds to play set off a raucous Heights celebration following a 63-62 overtime win against No. 18 Flower Mound Marcus.
“Lo and behold man,” a teary-eyed Celneque Bobbitt said after the game, “I get on my son. But he bailed his daddy out tonight.”
Heights (27-4) now advances to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. There, the Knights will meet No. 2 DeSoto after the Eagles defeated Lewisville on Friday.
But for a half, it didn’t appear the Knights were going anywhere after Friday as Marcus (25-5) shot 57 percent from the floor to take a 38-25 lead into halftime.
Heights, however, tightened up its defense and shaved seven points off
the lead by the start of the fourth quarter.
Heating up at that point, senior Josh DeLaney pulled Heights within 46-43 in the first fourth-quarter minute.
But his night abruptly ended less than a minute later when he fouled out with nearly the entire quarter to play.
“It was tough,” DeLaney said of watching the rest of the game from the bench.
“But I knew it wasn’t going to be tough for us because we had momentum.”
Heights continued its rally, tying the game at 46 on a Cameron DeLaney 3-pointer with 5:34 to play.
Then, at the 3:59 mark, junior D’Angelo Streeter gave Heights its first lead of the game, 49-48, by splitting a pair of free throws.
Marcus responded with a 5-0 spurt capped by a Michael Mayhew runner for a 53-49 lead with 3:06 to play. The Marauders, however, scored just two field goals the rest of the game.
After Mayhew split a pair of free throws for a 55-52 lead with 17 seconds to play, DeLaney — just 1 for 6 from downtown at that point — tied the game with the Knights’ first clutch shot of the game, a pull-up 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation.
“The play was I get a double screen, and Cody comes off a double screen,” DeLaney said. “But Cody was being guarded because they knew he was a shooter. So, after I came off the double screen, nobody was guarding me, so I just pulled up.”
The play sent the game to overtime, where Heights scored the first five points for a 60-55 lead with 2:58 to play.
The Knights, however, scored just one point over the next 2:52 as Marcus clawed back, eventually taking its first and only lead of overtime when Mayhew, who scored 20 points on the night, fed junior Trevor Deeks for a layup and a 62-61 lead with 14 seconds to play.
Heights, which was having a hard time advancing the ball in overtime, called a timeout before inbounding the ball to C.J. Bobbitt, who was standing near halfcourt with just one man between him and the basket.
“I had to go straight to the rack,” Bobbitt said. “There was no stopping me.”
“C.J. got the ball and went left,” Celneque Bobbitt said. “It’s game over when he goes left.”
With a Marcus defender on his hip, Bobbitt raced to the lane where he let go of a lefty runner that found the bottom of the net for the final lead change of the night.
Marcus tried to answer the bucket but turned the ball over as time expired, never getting a shot off.
Instead, the Knights celebrated as they live to see next week.
“This is the best thing that ever happened at Harker Heights,” Celneque Bobbitt said.
“We were down big — the kids fought back.”