HARKER HEIGHTS — Celneque Bobbitt did not talk to his team during halftime.
He had other intentions for the Harker Heights Knights.
“We went into the little gym and ran through some plays at halftime,” Bobbitt said. “I was going to run the fire out of them for not running. But I thought better of it.”
After a slow start, the Knights got running in the second and third quarters to blow out Belton 57-39 Tuesday at Harker Heights.
“Goodness gracious, it was an ugly win,” Bobbitt said.
The game exemplified the direction the two teams have taken since the start of District 8-5A play. Belton, which won its first two games, has now lost four straight district games, while Heights has won five in a row.
“We just have to keep pushing and doing what we do. We are still in this thing and my guys know that,” Belton coach Charlie Lewis said.
Cameron Delaney got things going for the Knights (17-7, 5-1 8-5A), when the junior knocked down the first two of his four 3-pointers. The treys by Delaney, who led all scorers with 18 points, broke a 12-12 tie and sparked an 11-0 run by Harker Heights. Knights forward Andre Hughes scored eight of 12 points in the quarter.
“We knew they only had a couple of big guys and we thought we had a good shot at getting the ball inside,” Bobbitt said. “We put two guys on opposite ends of the court and told the big guys ‘Don’t be the black hole.’
The Tigers (8-16, 2-4) only hit one field goal in the second quarter as Heights locked down Belton’s two top scoring options— Daniel Mills and Brandon Hammond. The duo finished with a combined 15 points.
“They have good size and they did a good job of putting them on our good guys,” Lewis said. “They made it very difficult. They hit key shots. They hit four 3s in that second quarter. You have to credit them for shooting well.”
Belton hit six of seven from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the half to keep the game competitive despite its offensive struggles.
The Tigers even got the lead back to single digits to start the third quarter, 30-22, following a 3-pointer by Thomas Barnes. But Delaney canned another 3-pointer and Heights used an effective transition game to keep in control, including a trio of steals and baskets from Josh Delaney in the fourth quarter.
“It is just survival of the fittest right now,” Bobbitt said. “It is a district ballgame that a lot of people think we should have won. So I think just getting this one out of the way is the best thing that happened for the night.”