HARKER HEIGHTS — Harker Heights coach Celneque Bobbitt knew his team would have to have one of its better games in order to beat a San Angelo Central team that had only lost six games all year.
His team did just that.
The Knights used a strong second quarter to push past the Bobcats 70-60 and pick up their first District 8-6A win and even their district record at 1-1.
“The game started kind of slow for us, but that happens when you face a team that runs the zone,” Bobbitt said. “When we made them push the tempo and made them play a little faster than they were used to, I think that is when we opened things up and gave us the success we had tonight,” Bobbitt said.
“We got on them pretty solidly there in the third quarter late by using our depth, and we were able to get a lot of guys in the game. We got some solid play, and were able to rest some guys.”
Nine different Knights scored in the contest, including Dillon Gooding, who had a team-high 19 points.
Central came out shooting to start the contest. After a Michael Bonner basket, the Bobcats were up 11-5, forcing Bobbitt to call a quick timeout.
The timeout appeared to help the Knights.
Heights went on a 6-0 run after the timeout. Jonathan Chatman drove by two defenders and laid the ball in for a bucket, and he was fouled in the process. After the made free throw, Harker Heights evened the contest at 11 with 3 minutes, 20 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Bobcats led 14-13 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Knights quickly turned the game around by outscoring the Bobcats 12-4.
Deshawn Walker’s floater in the lane gave Harker Heights (10-9, 1-1) a 17-16 lead with 4:40 before halftime, their first lead since the early minutes of the opening quarter.
On the next possession, Chalanc Bennett stole the ball from a Bobcat player at midcourt and outraced three Central players to the basket, for a layup.
Randy Hughes added two buckets underneath the goal right before the break, giving Harker Heights a 25-18 halftime lead.
Hughes finished with six points, seven rebounds and a block.
The lead extended in the third quarter when Gooding’s layup gave the Knights a 33-24 lead. The lead grew to 11 when Bennett added two free throws.
The Knights went 5 of 14 from the free-throw line, while Central (12-7, 1-1) was 15 of 25.
At the end of the third quarter, Harker Heights led 41-28.
The Knights’ largest lead of the game, 52-33 with six minutes remaining, happened when Walker made consecutive layups.
Walker finished with 13 points.
Defensively, Harker Heights forced Central into 24 turnovers that Bobbitt credited to the hustle and the intensity his players had on the defensive end of the court.
“We knew we would have to work on that curling and popping with all of that passing and screening that they do. I brought my players in early today to work on the defensive side, and I think it paid off. They do a lot of drop-off to the posts, and I think all of us, especially Randy, covered their posts all game long,” Bobbitt said.
Gooding added 10 of his points in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory.
“Dillon is still a young kid and this is his first inaugural season on varsity this year. Dillon did a really good job of making a lot of his open shots and made a lot of jumpers that he got to fall,” Bobbitt said.
Shalimar Whitfield helped the Knights in the victory by adding eight points. Chatman ended the evening with four.
Luke Ramos led the way for Central with 20 points.
Harker Heights returns to action Friday night on the road at Ellison.
“We just need to stay focused and carry this momentum we had from tonight into Ellison. I still don’t think we have played a full 32 minutes all season, but I don’t think I will have any problem getting the guys ready to play Ellison on Friday,” Bobbitt said.
8-6A BOYS STANDINGS
- Waco Midway 2-0
- Copperas Cove 1-1
- Ellison 1-1
- Killeen 1-1
- Harker Heights 1-1
- San Angelo Central 1-1
- Shoemaker 1-1
- Belton 0-2