Brian Long may get a lot of the attention since he’s a Texas-Pan American signee and the only NCAA Division I signee on the Killeen Kangaroos roster, but the Roos aren’t a one-man team.
Killeen’s next-man-up attitude was on display during Tuesday’s 71-68 home win over the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs.
“A lot of people focus on Brian Long a lot and we just wanted to make a point to everybody that our team isn’t just Brian Long,” Killeen coach Reggie Huggins said. “We got 10, 11 other guys that can play. If you’re slacking on one of them, they’re going to bite you on the butt.”
Though Long led all Roo scorers with 21, it was the total team effort at different points of the game that helped Killeen (17-8, 4-3 District 8-5A) stay perfect at home on the season.
Long managed just six points through the first 16 minutes and Melvin Anthony sat on the bench during the final 3:39 of the first half with foul trouble, but junior Dadrien Moore came up with seven points in the second quarter to help Killeen go to the locker room tied at 25.
“As a team, we just work harder,” junior guard Demarius Cress said. “We know that our bench is real deep and we just come with it every game.”
Long took control of the game late in the third quarter after coming up with an offensive rebound on a missed free throw.
Long put back the missed shot that gave Killeen a 32-31 lead with 2:49 remaining in the third. The senior would score 12 points in a four minute span until fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
After that, a closer crew, led by Anthony, took over and ensured that Killeen would win its fourth district game of the year.
Anthony scored all eight of his points in the final five minutes of the game, including a two-handed dunk that made it 62-59 Killeen with 3:10 remaining.
“These kids practice hard, play hard and we just throw them out there and they know what to do,” Huggins said.
From there, the Roos held back a late Dawg surge as Cress and Devyn Williams combined to hit three out of the final four free throws in the final 13.7 seconds to help Killeen hold back Cove (11-13, 2-5).