After the Killeen Kangaroos’ 67-57 win over Manor, Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said his football player inserts were no long football players.
The gridiron trio of Akeem Harrison, DeVarri McCray and Devyn Williams combined for 16 points and 13 rebounds to spark the Runnin’ Roos to their first win of the Huggins era.
“We just came and sparked it up,” Harrison said. “We came in and grabbed a couple of rebounds for everybody, kicked it out, got it to the play makers and they their thing. The regular
basketball guys sparked it up like they normally would.”
Killeen (1-2) used an 18-1 run in the final four minutes of the first half to pull away for a 10-point win in Huggins’ first home game since replacing former coach Jason Fossett last spring.
“It feels pretty good,” Huggins said. “I’ve been looking for it for three games now, I’m happy to get it. The kids needed it — they’ve been working hard every day. The staff has been working hard. Just working through all that, we got it to where we needed to be.”
The Roos hit five of their final eight shots of the second quarter after Manor cut a one-time 9-point Killeen lead to 3.
Damariel Baker hit back-to-back 3s to give Killeen a 35-19 lead with 46 seconds left in the half. Long then missed a fast break lay up on a steal, but Melvin Anthony followed with a put back dunk with 24 seconds left. Long hit a pair of free throws with 2 seconds left that gave the Roos a 39-19 lead at halftime.
“In the locker room, coach told us to just keep up the intensity, we looked like the old Killeen Kangaroos and keep playing hard. That’s what we did. We listened to him and came out and just kept pushing,” said Long, who scored eight of nine points during the run.
Manor (1-2) outscored the Roos 27-10 in the fourth to chip away at Killeen’s 27-point lead to start the period.
Anthony led the Roos with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Baker finished with 10.
LaMarcus Burnette led Manor with 18 points, including 11 in the fourth, and Arthur Chambers scored 12.
Harrison and McCray each added six for Killeen and Williams chipped in four. Harrison also had 10 rebounds.
“We got those guys back, now and they’re really making a difference especially on the physicalness of how we play and that loomed large, especially against Manor tonight,” Huggins said. “They came in, gave us a spark and that’s what we needed.”
Coming off the bench late in the first, and having had just one day of practice, McCray, Harrison and Williams scored Killeen’s final six points of the period and helped the Roos’ defense force four straight Manor turnovers to take a 15-12 lead into the second.
The trio helped build a 21-12 lead in the first two minutes of the second quarter before Manor rallied with six unanswered points, four from the free-throw line, to pull within 21-18 with 4:31 left in the half.
Sophomore Demarius Cress started the Roos’ separating run with a fast break lay up. Long then scored six straight points, beginning with his first field goal of the game, to give the Roos a 29-18 lead with 1:55 left in the quarter.
After cutting the lead to three, Manor missed its final four shots of the half and turned the ball over six times.
Manor trimmed its 20-point deficit to 44-27 on a Corey Foster free throw with just under four minutes left in the third quarter, but again sparked by their football teammates, the Roos finished the period on a 13-3 run.
Manor rallied in the fourth quarter against Killeen’s reserve players, but the Roos’ lead proved insurmountable.
“It’s put a little confidence on our back that we can do things, that we can improve,” Long said. “By practicing, we’ve been improving a lot and it’s showed in our games. It feels good to get this win.”