HARKER HEIGHTS — For the second time in less than a week, Harker Heights jumped on a visiting team early at Harker Heights gymnasium.
And for the second time in less than a week, that team turned the tables on the Lady Knights only for Harker Heights to have the final say.
Harker Heights rallied from a 12-point deficit Monday, taking the lead for good on a Kiara Young 3-pointer with 6:38 to play, in a 54-50 win against Bryan Rudder.
And afterward, Lady Knight head coach Shirretha Nelson admitted what a relief it was for her team to pull it out late.
“I’m not going to lie. I was nervous going into the game because they always have athletes and always can score,” Nelson said of the Lady Rangers. “So it was nice to come in and pull a win over them.”
Lady Knight junior Sheanne Ellis-Clayton was also big late, knocking down a pair of free throws for a 52-49 lead with 14 seconds to play then stealing the ensuing inbounds pass, which led to a Ademaya Agunbiade layup to seal the victory.
And senior post Da’Jah Daniel was big again, scoring 21-points and grabbing 17 rebounds, both game highs, to lead Harker Heights.
“I can’t even describe it,” It was incredible, and it helped us a lot.”
“We needed those rebounds.”
Harker Heights began the game on a 9-2 run, but Rudder answered with a 13-2 run of its own to grab control of the game.
The lead ballooned to 12 in the second quarter on a steal and layup by Deysta Wilbert, which put the Lady Rangers up 25-13 and gave Rudder a double-digit cushion it maintained well into the third quarter.
“I felt like we needed to come together more and talk more,” Daniel said, “especially on defense, because I feel like we weren’t dropping back on defense earlier.”
But Harker Heights pulled within 40-35 by the end of the third quarter, then pulled within one on a steal and layup by Ellis-Clayton, who had five steals on the night to go with 19 points.
Less than a minute later, Young banked in a 3-pointer to give Harker Heights its first lead since the first quarter on a shot that she didn’t even expect to go in.
“No, because my shots, usually they go splash,” Young said with a laugh. “They’re not off the glass like that.”
The Lady Knights never trailed again despite Rudder pulling within 50-49 on a steal and layup by Trecee Daily with 58 seconds to play.
But thanks to the two big free throws, and two big steals, by Ellis-Clayton, Harker Heights was able to pull out the win, turning the tables on Rudder one final time.