WEST — Looking up at the scoreboard, it felt unnatural to be behind and not pushing the tempo.
But that was exactly the Killeen Lady Roos’ gameplan against top-ranked Duncanville.
“We had to because of how fast and athletic they (the Pantherettes) were,” said Killeen coach Latisha Williams. “It’s hard to get the kids to buy into something that they’re not used to doing, and it’s difficult for a kid to look up, be down 10, be down 15 (points) and, ‘What do you mean, don’t push the ball?’”
Duncanville used a 10-5 run at the end of the second quarter to build a 15-point halftime lead, then blew the game open by outscoring Killeen 19-5 in the third quarter and rolled to a 65-33 win over the Lady Roos in their 5A girls basketball bi-district playoff game Monday night.
“It was hard, their defense was pressure, pressure, pressure and it wasn’t really going with the flow,” said Killeen senior forward Jasmine Goodwine. “We made some mistakes, some turnovers, but their defense was really pressure, so it was hard to stall.”
Duncanville (36-0) forced 25 turnovers, including eight in the third quarter.
The Pantherettes used a 6-2 run at the start of the second half to build a 19-point lead and then used a 9-1 run, which included forcing five straight Killeen turnovers in six possessions, to put the game away midway through the third quarter.
“We got at a medium speed and trying to slow it down against a good team like Duncanville is pretty hard,” said senior wing Esha Atkins. “They play really aggressive and good defense, they have good hands and get deflections.”
Goodwine led Killeen (18-14) with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Johlicia Williams finished with 10 rebounds and three points.
Duncanville junior Tasia Foman led four Pantherettes players in double-figures with 15 points.
“At the end of the first quarter, it was 16-11 and I thinked we stopped trying to slow down and sped up to catch up,” Atkins said. “It really would’ve helped. The score would’ve been closer and we probably would’ve had a chance.”
The Pantherettes jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but Williams scored all three of her points in a span of less than a minute and Atkins followed with a 3-pointer to put Killeen right there, 10-6, with the defending state champions. Duncanville pulled away a bit for a 18-8 lead with under five seconds left in the period, but Laderrica Degrate beat the buzzer with a 3 that made it 16-11 at the end of the first quarter.
“It’s extremely hard not to (get intimidated), but you go out there, you try to have fun, you try to be hopeful and not come in, initially, defeated already,” Goodwine said. “You put your best foot forward. You don’t have anything to lose.”
Killeen turned the ball over seven times in its first eight possessions of the second quarter and Duncanville responded offensively with a 9-2 run to build its lead to 25-13 with 3:35 left in the half. Then, the Pantherettes closed the half on a 10-7 run to take a 35-20 lead into the intermission.
All but two of Duncanville’s 30 second-half points came on layups. The other two points were free throws.
“In the first half, defensively, we’re OK — we made some turnovers that caused them to get some quick layups. Then, they just started really crashing the boards and they just weren’t missing anything (in the second half),” Williams said. “But it was where they were shooting from. The whole thing was don’t let them shoot in the paint, make them shoot from the outside, clog it up, and we just didn’t really take care of that. They got some pretty good looks.”
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