HARKER HEIGHTS — Harker Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson was impressed with her inexperienced team early Tuesday when it jumped out to a double-digit lead against a good Round Rock Stony Point team.
But Nelson was even more impressed when that same team erased a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to rally for its first win of the season in a 59-56 victory in front of an excited home crowd at Harker Heights gymnasium.
“We’ve lost our last two games by two points, and we’ve been talking about that two-point deficit,” Nelson said. “And to lose any basketball game by two is heartbreaking because it’s a close game.
“So for them to get so far down and to battle back showed the maturity and just the want that they have.”
Led by senior post Da’Jah Daniel and her 10 first-quarter points, Harker Heights (1-2) jumped all over the visiting Lady Tigers early, going up 18-5 on a Sheanne Ellis-Clayton 3-pointer at the 2:04 mark in the first and taking a 10-point lead into the second quarter.
But as high as Harker Heights was flying in the first quarter, Stony Point stole every bit of that momentum in the second with lethal 3-point shooting, going 4 of 6 from downtown in the frame.
When the dust had settled, Stony Point led 40-29 at halftime after a 29-point quarter.
“Stony Point, they’re a real good team,” Ellis-Clayton said. “They’re good in situations like that. They came down and they came back. We just had to work together and play hard defense — stop them on their 3-pointers.”
Harker Heights wasn’t able to cut into that lead in the third quarter and, in fact, entered the fourth in a slightly larger hole, down 50-38.
But the Lady Knights started the fourth even faster than they started the game, ripping off a 19-2 run that included a Daniel layup on a nice post feed from Jaylynn Bonner for the lead with 2:45 to play and a Daniel putback with 1:20 to play that put the Lady Knights up 57-52.
“If it wasn’t for my teammates giving me great passes and feeding me the ball I would’ve never gotten the basket,” said Daniel, who finished with 17 points.
Ellis-Clayton led the Lady Knights with 18 points, but it was sophomore Ademaya Agunbiade who iced the win with two free throws with eight seconds to play.
And after two close losses to start the season, the Lady Knights were happy not only to impress Nelson but to come out on top in a close game for the first time this season.
“It feels good,” Ellis-Clayton said with a smile. “Losing by two two times straight — it feels good to come out and win by three.”