The Killeen Lady Kangaroos don’t see it as a rough patch, a slump or a thorn in their side. Rather it’s an opportunity.
The Lady Roos have a chance to snap a three-game bi-district playoff losing streak tonight when they take on the DeSoto Lady Eagles.
“I want them to get that feeling of winning a playoff game because it’s really great to continue going,” Killeen head coach Latisha Williams said. “It would be good for them to experience that.”
Killeen and DeSoto face off in the Region I-5A bi-district playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. at McLennan Community College in Waco.
The winner of the game advances to the area playoffs and will play either No. 3 Flower Mound Marcus or Euless Trinity.
The Lady Roos are looking for their first playoff win since 2010, when they beat Austin Travis 53-29 in the Region IV-4A bi-district playoffs.
The Lady Roos lost to Arlington Seguin in 2011 and 2012 and were eliminated from the postseason last year after a 65-33 loss to eventual state champion Duncanville last season.
Killeen is the No. 2 seed out of District 8-5A via a tiebreaker with Harker Heights and Temple. All three teams finished with an 8-6 district record.
The Lady Roos clinched a playoff spot with a 41-37 win over Temple in the regular season finale a week ago.
The Lady Roos may be the higher seed against DeSoto, but Williams said that the team still looks at itself as the underdog in the contest.
“Even though we are the second seed and they are the third seed, going against that district, I don’t think it really matters,” Williams said. “We’re going to have to play a great game in order to come out with a win, and the girls know that. But it’s the same thing, I would hope that DeSoto has to play well in order to beat us.”
DeSoto finished third in a very competitive District 7-5A.
Najala Howell is the Lady Eagles’ leading scorer with an average of 17.1 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds.
“They’re a very good team, they’re solid. I think they have good inside play, good perimeter play and they’re extremely athletic,” Williams said about DeSoto. “If we’re lazy with the ball, we’re going to pay for that.”
Although no member of the Killeen girls basketball team has experienced a playoff win, the Lady Roos do have some key players with playoff experience.
Senior guards Ghiniva Phillips and Karyea Oliver along with sophomore guard Tia Harston and junior forward Raven Ringo all logged some quality playing time against Duncanville last year.
The time on the court may have come in a loss, but Williams is still banking on the experience the players gained to help them out today.
“They played, they understand what pressure is and how it feels when you lose a playoff game,” Williams said. “They definitely understand that and they don’t want to feel that this early again. The feeling they don’t know is what it feels like to win a (playoff) game.”