Brian Long wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
The Killeen junior guard still believes his best game is ahead of him. If he’s right, that’s bad news for the rest of District 8-5A.
Long scored 36 points and pulled down eight rebounds Friday to lead the Runnin’ Roos to a 77-73 win over Waco Midway at Killeen.
“I just wanted to come out shooting the ball and leading the team,” Long said. “I thought they would come behind me and do the same thing.”
He was right, sort of.
No other player scored in double figures for Killeen, but five other players had at least five points. With the Roos (10-9, 1-1 8-5A) getting multiple players to score, Midway couldn’t’ double-team Long effectively.
And that left Long open too many times. The senior finished 10 of 13 from the field and 14 of 20 from the free-throw line.
“It is a great performance, but ... in order for him to get his points (other guys) have to contribute,” Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said. “So, without them he can’t score 36. He can’t play 1-on-5. We have to play 5-on-5 for him to do that.”
Midway (7-9, 0-2) ran right at the Roos in the first quarter, racking up 25 points behind Darius Littlejohn, who finished with 18. Littlejohn hit a 3-pointer to put Midway, which was 5 of 13 from 3 in the first half, in front with less than a minute left in the quarter. Antwonie Betters then drained another 3-pointer right before the buzzer to extend the Panthers lead to 25-18.
Killeen came right back. The Roos started the second quarter on a 10-2 run capped off by a deep 3-pointer by Demarius Cress. The trey put Killeen up 28-27.
Long scored seven points in the quarter, including draining a 3 from the wing and hitting 3 of 5 from the line.
“We stuck with what we were doing,” Huggins said. “Our guys just converted. We were not converting early on in the game, but this game is 32 minutes and we have to keep playing ... and relax.”
From there, it was a back-and-forth affair.
The Roos went into the break up 40-38 after neither team scored in the final two minutes of the half and took a 56-52 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.
“We just kept pushing,” Long said. “We did not worry about the lead. We just kept pushing ourselves.”
Midway, though, put together an 8-3 run behind DeShune Way, who scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half. Way hit 5 of 8 from the free-throw line as time wound down in the quarter.
Killeen’s defense shut down the perimeter shooting of Midway, allowing the Panthers to hit only 1 of 4 from beyond the arc in the second half.
The Roos went up 71-66 as Long kept his hot streak going. Long scored 15 of the Roos’ 18 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.
Midway scored five straight points, though, to tie the game at 71. However, Long was 4 of 4 from the charity stripe in the final minutes and Devyn Williams, who was the Roos’ second-leading scorer with nine points, scored on a fast break with 11.3 seconds left to put Killeen up by four, sealing the game.
“I was a little nervous (when they came back), but we have been through these situations a couple of times,” Long said. “So, I just thought calm down and keep battling. We might end up in overtime and if we do, we are going to win it.”
Contact Nick Talbot at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569