By Alex Byington
Harker Heights Herald
SALADO - Over the summer, Koby Spears hung up his cleats and helmet and decided to focus on perfecting his skills on the hardcourt.
If Dec. 9 was any indication, the Salado senior made the right choice.
Spears combined for 42 points in two games as the host Eagles swept both, including a 76-32 blowout of Cameron Yoe at the 10th annual Coach Smith Memorial Tournament.
"Sometimes I regret (dropping football), but I had a lot of time to get better (at basketball) in the offseason, and I really wouldn't have had the time if I was playing football," said Spears, who dropped 22 points and two of Salado's seven 3-pointers in a 57-47 win over San Antonio Hawkins earlier in the day.
But after putting on a clinic inside and outside the lane, Spears will miss a rematch with No. 16 Liberty Hill in what amounts to the tournament championship game.
"I gotta perform when I can I guess," said Spears, who will be taking a college entrance exam during the game. "I want to be there (today) but I can't."
The two District 25-3A rivals squared off last year in the Coach Smith championship game, with Liberty Hill coming out on top 56-42.
It was even worse this time around as Salado had little answer for the relentless full-court pressure No. 16 Liberty Hill, going scoreless the first quarter of a 79-48 rout on Saturday.
Forcing their hosts into uncomfortable predicaments, the Panthers (12-1) scored the game's first 19 points before Salado's Austin Adams converted a fast-break layup with 6:12 to play in the first half. Adams led the Eagles (10-4) with 16 points.
With Spears back in the fray on Tuesday, the Eagles (11-3) got back on the right track with a 46-32 win over host Little River-Academy as Spears chipped in 20.
Harker Heights 45, Austin St. Michael's 32 - At Buda, Andre Hughes and Naashon Hughes each scored 10 to lead the Knights over St. Michael's and wrap up the Rebel Classic's Silver Bracket championship Saturday.
Stephenville 56, Belton 51 - At Belton, the host Tigers led 51-43 with seven minutes left, but never scored again, as Stephenville scored the final 13 points for the win Tuesday.
Daniel Mills scored a game-high 24 points and Justin Owens added 12 for the Tigers (4-9), who scored eight points in their first three fourth-quarter possessions before going ice-cold.