During Harker Heights’ wild rally Friday, before Shoemaker pulled out a 52-47 overtime victory, the Knights’ offense was being started by Celneque Bobbitt II.
That’s right, the lengthy 6-foot-6 sophomore better suited for making plays inside the lane was instead walking the ball up the court as the point guard. The result was an awkward exchange as Grey Wolves’ 5-foot-4 guard Renard Thomas flustered Bobbitt II enough to steal the ball and score a breakaway layup.
That was just one of several offensive miscues, including eight in the first quarter, that allowed Shoemaker to grab a 31-17 halftime lead, necessitating the Knights’ comeback to even force overtime at 44-44.
The issue was because Heights (18-8, 7-2 8-5A) was without starting point guard Josh Delaney, who missed all Friday and most of Tuesday’s 53-46 win over first-place Ellison with an injured thumb. The loss of Delaney was especially hard given that point guard/ball handling have been a source of strength the last several years under the care of four-year letterman Thomas Cherry.
But Cherry graduated last season and moved north to play college ball at Valley City State in North Dakota, though he redshirted this season due to an injury.
As evidenced Friday, it’s clear Harker Heights is a different team without a steady point guard, and if the Knights are truly going to challenge for the 8-5A title, it’s going to take a much stronger showing from that position down the stretch.
Roos find another way to beat Midway
The Waco Midway Panthers did not let Brian Long beat them again.
After Long went off for 36 points in Killeen’s 77-73 win over Midway on Dec. 21, the Panthers used a box-and-one defense against Long on Friday and limited the Runnin’ Roos junior star to just four points.
Solving one problem, though, only created others — open looks for DeVarri McCray and the Roos’ perimeter players.
McCray hit six of Killeen’s 10 3-pointers and scored 22 points in the first half to lead the Runnin’ Roos to an 80-64 win over the Panthers that snapped Killeen’s two-game losing streak.
McCray finished with 29 points and was one of five players to hit 3s in the game for Killeen (16-14, 5-4 8-5A), which is still one game ahead of Copperas Cove in fourth place in the District 8-5A standings.
Midway’s box-and-one defense, while successfully limiting Long, left McCray and the Roos’ perimeter players open along the 3-point line to shoot the long-range shots they love, almost to a fault. And Friday night, the Roos made it rain.
Killeen hit eight 3s in the first half and led 49-33 at halftime.
Lampasas suffers through scoring slump
The Badgers’ offense abandoned them at the worst possible time — in district.
After utilizing a deep roster to produce a balanced scoring attack during its run to a 16-5 record through the nondistrict portion of its schedule, Lampasas struggled to put points on the scoreboard over the first half of District 8-3A play. And it cost the Badgers dearly.
The Badgers are in fifth place, sitting at 1-4 through the first half of district following a four-game losing streak thanks in part to a combined nine quarters in which they failed to score double-digit points.
Lampasas earned a 56-39 victory to open district, but quickly hit a roadblock against state-ranked Liberty Hill, scoring eight points in the first half of a 45-26 loss. The Badgers followed the performance with a five-point first half, including a scoreless first quarter, in a 50-28 loss to Burnet.
Against Gatesville, Lampasas blew a 32-25 lead by posting six fourth-quarter points in a 42-38 loss before falling to Llano 52-48 after putting itself in a 27-16 halftime hole.
The Badgers are not completely out of the playoff picture yet, but they must immediately rediscover their offensive flow to extend the careers of nine seniors beyond the regular season.
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or (254) 501-7566
Kevin Posival and Clay Whittington contributed to this report.