One turnover led to another and then another. Then, Killeen missed its final four shots and turned the ball over one more time to end the first quarter.
And all the while, the Harker Heights Knights were pulling away.
Harker Heights outscored Killeen 8-0 in the final 4½ minutes of the first quarter, 9-0 in the final four minutes of the first half and pulled away for a 64-48 win over the Roos on Friday at Killeen.
“We were struggling from the get-go; we just couldn’t make any baskets,” said Killeen coach Reggie Huggins. “(Give) credit to them, they made the baskets. We tried our best, our guys were getting after it, actually getting to the basket, doing what we do, we’re just not putting any of them in the basket and, unfortunately, in this game, if you ain’t putting them in the basket, you don’t win.”
For the first four minutes of the game, the two teams were locked in a dogfight, but by the end of the period, the Knights (18-7, 6-1 8-5A) had already started to put a cushion between themselves and the Roos, taking a 17-11 lead into the second.
DeVarri McCray converted a three-point play that cut the lead to 24-21 with 4:13 left in the first half, but Killeen (15-13, 4-3) turned the ball over four straight times and missed its final three shots of the half. Josh Delaney hit a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave Heights a 33-21 at the break.
“Right there at the beginning of the game, it was a barn-burner; it was tit-for-tat, they went up, we came back. ... At the end of the first half, we got on a little role, we ran the offense finally,” said Harker Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt. “I think we got down and we passed the ball for about 26, 27 times — we haven’t done that in about two years — running our base offense and then luckily hit that 3 and we go into halftime on an emotional high.”
Cameron Delaney led all scorers with 23 for the Knights, including 14 in the second half, while Brian Long led Killeen with 21, 11 in the fourth quarter.
McCray finished with nine for Killeen, but didn’t score in the second half.
Cody Halvorson and Andre Hughes each added 11 points for Heights and Celneque Bobbitt II finished with 10 despite getting into early foul trouble. Halvorson hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and one in the third and Hughes finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Knights were whistled for nine fouls in the third quarter and 19 total in the second half, but the Roos’ missed their opportunities to close the gap from the free-throw line when they hit just 15 of 28 in the second half and 17 of 32 in the game.
“We were ready, I think we just got anxious and slacked off in the second half and the second quarter and just let everything go by,” Long said. “We’ve got to focus on not trying to do that when we go against Shoemaker (on Tuesday).”
Melvin Anthony’s three-point play gave the Roos an 11-9 lead with 4:35 left, but Killeen didn’t score again until a Devyn Williams layup with 7:05 left in the second quarter.
Halvorson’s second 3 of the first gave Heights a 12-11 lead before Killeen turned the ball over on three straight possessions. Delaney scored the final five points of the period on consecutive series to give the Knights a 17-11 lead going into the second.
After McCray’s three-point play trimmed the lead to three, Delaney made a pair of free throws with four minutes left to spark the Knights’ 9-0 run at the end of the half. Five of Josh Delaney’s seven points were the final points of the half, including a deep 3-pointer just before the buzzer that gave the Knights a 33-21 lead at the break.
Long made a pair of free throws with 3:17 left in the third that cut the Knights’ lead to eight, 36-28, but the Knights closed the quarter on a 7-1 run. The Roos missed their final three shots of the quarter and went 1-for-5 at the line in the final 2½minutes. And Killeen never got the lead below 11 in the fourth.