After cold weather forced all Killeen ISD games to be postponed Tuesday, the extra day of rest seemed to do the Kangaroos good as they fought to the last second to beat Harker Heights 60-57 on Wednesday night at Killeen.
“Man, this is big,” said senior Montego Muckelvaney, who led all scorers with 27 points. “This puts us in second place for district. It’s been awhile since Killeen’s been second in district.
“The goal is to get to the playoffs so we just want to win everything we can and be a band of brothers while we do it.”
The Roos (10-10 4-2 8-6A) are a game behind Ellison and Waco Midway in the district standings, and they moved ahead of Shoemaker and the Knights (9-11, 3-3).
The Runnin’ Roos ran away with the lead in the first quarter behind 10 points from Muckelvaney.
Two 3-pointers from Heights’ Dillon Gooding kept the Knights within 10 at the end of the first eight minutes, 22-12.
Heights limited the Roos to just seven points in the second period but Killeen was able to hold onto a 29-28 halftime lead.
The Heights-Killeen game has extra meaning for head coach Reggie Huggins, who he faced his mentor in Knights head coach Celneque Bobbitt.
“I always say this game is the hardest game because that’s my buddy on the opposite side,” Huggins said. “For me everything is possible because he gave me that opportunity to be assistant coach for him, so that’s very important to me.”
While all district games have their challenges, Heights and Killeen have players who know each other and have grown up playing with each other.
“It’s a tough game but those are the kinds of games you have to play to get into the playoffs,” Huggins said.
Muckelvaney kept the momentum going for the Roos as started the second half with a bucket from outside.
Gooding answered with his fourth 3-pointer on the next play.
Gooding almost brought the Knights within one with a deep try at the buzzer, but it missed and the Roos led 42-39 going into the last frame.
Early in the fourth quarter Ivie tossed the ball in the air to set up senior guard Trayvon Todd for easy layups that put the Roos up by seven.
“I play with (Todd) in the summer and Montego in the summer so we have plays just drawn,” Ivie said. “I’ve got chemistry with both of them.”
While trying to push ahead further late in the game, Todd added a dunk that caused the crowd in the gym to roar as he drew a foul off on Heights’ Dashawn Walker.
In the last two minutes, Heights applied man-to-man pressure and when Gooding picked up a steal, junior guard Willie McGee ran to block the shot, colliding and landing on top of Gooding.
Gooding’s free throw brought the Knights within eight. Jarvis Cherry put up two 3-pointers in the last minute of the game off two Roo turnovers.
“Take care of the ball, you win!” yelled the Killeen coaching staff after the final timeout of the game.
Once the Roos got the ball inbounds, they were able to run out the final 10 seconds.
As the buzzer rang out, the Killeen crowd cheered and Muckelvaney threw his hands up.
“I’ve been on varsity since I was a sophomore,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of minutes, but I feel like this year we have a strong team and the potential is really high to go to the playoffs.”
As for Huggins, his focus is set on the next district foe — Shoemaker on Friday.
“We just got to keep the momentum going,” he said. “We don’t really get much of a turnaround, but guess what, they don’t get much of a turnaround either so we just going to go out there, do what we do, play the game.”
Ivie added 14 points for Killeen. Todd had 11.
Gooding led the Knights with 20.
- Belton 77, Copperas Cove 65
- Killeen 60, Harker Heights 57
- San Angelo Central 64, Shoemaker 63
- Waco Midway 58, No. 13 Ellison 51
- San Angelo Central at Ellison, 6 p.m.
- Belton at Harker Heights, 7 p.m.
- Killeen at Shoemaker, 7 p.m.
- Waco Midway at Copperas Cove, 7 p.m.