HARKER HEIGHTS — Rashard Odomes, Cedric Carlisle and Cory Scott sat in the dressing room with their heads hung in silence.
Copperas Cove knew it let one slip away.
In the Harker Heights locker room voices boomed and players celebrated as the team gathered around Celneque Bobbitt. The Knights knew they escaped with a much-needed win.
It was sloppy, turnover-prone and flow-free, but Heights gutted out a win over the Bulldawgs 64-59 at home to take over sole possession of second place in District 8-5A Friday.
“These are the games where it is hardest to get your kids under control,” Bobbitt said. “My point guard, this is his first year, and my backup was home with the flu. We are trying to teach them to buy time in the game and right now we are not doing a good job of it. ... Our three-minute offense stinks. We need the click of the clock.”
Neither team held or maintained a lead long.
Cove (14-8, 2-3 8-5A) led 17-16 after one quarter and expanded it to 30-24 with two minutes left in the half after a pair of Odomes free throws. Heights (16-7, 4-1) ripped off a 7-0 run fueled by transition baskets by Josh Delaney and Andre Hughes, but Cove went into halftime up 32-31 after Scott connected on two more free throws. The Bulldawgs finished the game 19-of-22 from the line. But, from anywhere else, Cove struggled, shooting a woeful 33 percent from the floor and 20 percent from 3.
“We didn’t do something majorly special, but we knew there heavy hitters were Scott and Odomes,” Bobbitt said. “We just marked them and made sure we put pressure out on them.”
Cameron Delaney put Heights in front 37-34 when he connected on back-to-back 3-pointers in the first minute and half of the third quarter.
Again, it didn’t last long. Odomes, who led Cove with 19 points, got back-to-back steals and fast-break baskets, including a two-handed dunk to put Cove back up by one.
The two teams kept trading baskets until the fourth quarter, when Heights finally came alive underneath the basket behind Celneque Bobbitt II.
Bobbitt, who led Heights with 19 points, converted a three-point play after an offensive rebound and later got an easy layup as Heights pulled in front 53-50.
“We thought we would have an advantage on the inside,” Celneque Bobbit said. “CJ can go in and score in there if he is trying to ... and we thought we could get some points down there early, but it was slow going.”
The Knights were able to stretch the lead to seven before Scott, who was only 5-of-21 from the field, hit his first 3-pointer in 10 tries to get Cove within 59-57 with 57 seconds remaining.
“Great players make shots when they are supposed to,” Celneque Bobbitt said. “I saw Josh (Delaney) not up on him and I said ‘He is going to make this one. If he isn’t going to make any other shot tonight, he is going to make this one and it drops. That is the way it goes.”
The Dawgs’ comeback fell short, though, as Scott, Tyler Wilson and Deion Robinson all missed shots in the finals seconds.
“We just did not make shots when we needed to make shots,” Copperas Cove coach Billy White Jr. said. “We could not get them to fall for us and on the other end they were able to get some easy buckets.
“I think that is what it boiled down to.”