The Killeen Kangaroos beat the Shoemaker Grey Wolves 35 days ago, but in high school basketball, that initial meeting might as well have happened years ago.
“We won the last time, but that was a long time ago,” Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said. “Shoemaker has run off five games in a row. Obviously, whatever they’ve been doing has been really, really good.”
Killeen visits Shoemaker tonight for a District 8-5A boys basketball rematch beginning at 7 p.m.
The game has playoff implications for both teams as Shoemaker (15-6, 5-2 District 8-5A) is fighting for the top spot in district while Killeen (17-8, 4-3) is in a third place tie with Ellison (13-10, 4-3). The Grey Wolves trail district leader Harker Heights (19-3, 6-1) by one game while Killeen is two games back.
The two teams met on Dec. 17 to open district play at Killeen High and the Roos used their deep bench to pull away 56-42.
Killeen guard Demarius Cress led the Roos with 17 points while Shane Johnson led the Grey Wolves with 18 points.
Killeen led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, but a Johnson 3-pointer
sparked an 8-0 Grey Wolves run that cut Killeen’s lead to 44-36 with 4:24 remaining in the game.
From there Cress came up with a 3-pointer of his own, hit two consecutive free throws and helped put the game away with a steal and assist to Texas-Pan Am signee Brian Long for a layup that made it 54-38 Killeen with a minute remaining.
The game was played five weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime for a Shoemaker team that found itself and has been on a roll.
The Grey Wolves followed the Killeen setback with a district loss to Heights, but has since won their last five district games.
“Our goal was to get better every game and I think we’re starting to do that,” Shoemaker coach Emund Prichett said. “We’re a better team than we were when we played them.”
Shoemaker has not lost a game since a 54-50 loss to Round Rock Cedar Ridge in the LISD Christmas Basketball Classic on Dec. 28.
Huggins said that in order for the Roos to beat the Grey Wolves again, they must play fundamental basketball, especially in the paint,
“They really like the paint very much. They really didn’t shoot very many 3’s the last time, other than Shane and Pat (Patrick Mark),” Huggins said.
Prichett knows that in order for the Grey Wolves to avenge that loss, Shoemaker must put together four complete quarters.
“I think we took a lot from that game and I learned about our team from that game,” Prichett said.