LEANDER — While she might not put up eye-popping numbers in the scoring department, Jacen Moore does a lot of the dirty work around the basket for Killeen.
The senior did that and then some in a nondistrict tilt Monday afternoon against Leander. She registered five points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots to help the Lady Kangaroos capture a 48-45 win.
“Someone’s got to do it,” Moore joked after the game. “No one likes to do it, but I find joy in getting rebounds. Everybody just forgets all about it.
“It’s like, ‘I’ve got to score this or score that.’ But I think getting rebounds, you give yourself a second opportunity. So I like keeping it alive on the offensive side for our team.”
Killeen head coach Jennifer Graham said Moore is a monster underneath.
“I put up a quote a while ago from Moses Malone,” Graham said. “It said, ‘You’ve got to rebound, because if you don’t have the ball, you can’t shoot.’ Jacen, she’s bought into that — bought into rebounding.
“When she rebounds, especially offensively, we put the ball in the basket. Her teammates respect that.”
It wasn’t the prettiest of performances by the Lady Roos (10-8). They committed 18 turnovers and were just 12 of 23 from the foul line.
“I’m glad that we won, but of course the turnovers are detrimental to us,” Graham said. “We can’t go win district with that. We can’t have those types of turnovers and expect to be successful in district play.”
But winning was all that mattered.
“It sits better with us after a win and not a loss,” Moore said. “Still, there’s a lot to learn from it. We’ve got to do better with a lot of those mistakes, but at the end of the day we came away with a win.”
To start the contest, Killeen held an 8-5 lead with two minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But Leander (2-12) scored five consecutive points on a putback by junior Allyssa McByers and a 3-pointer from straight away by senior Alicia Molina for a 10-8 lead.
Killeen junior Alia Vines then hit a jumper in the lane at the buzzer to tie it up at 10-all going into the second period.
The Lady Lions opened the stanza on a 7-3 run to take a 17-13 lead. McByers scored a field goal from the left block, junior Morgan Worthy made two free throws and Molina hit another trey from straight away.
But the Lady Roos replied with an 11-0 spurt to capture a 24-20 advantage. Moore spearheaded the outburst with four points.
Leander then scored six straight to go up 26-24, but Killeen senior Shianne Johnson nailed a 3 from the left wing as the clock expired to put her team up 27-26 at halftime.
The two teams continued to go back and forth in the second half, as neither was able to build a lead of more than five, but the Lady Roos did enough for the three-point victory.
Johnson led Killeen with 12 points, and she also added one rebound and three assists to her ledger. Junior Jaida Burkes recorded 10 points, one rebound and one assist, and junior Manesha Knox had nine points and one board.
Junior Kassadie Sanders spearheaded the Lady Lions with 10 points, followed by Molina with nine and McByers with seven.
“I think it builds confidence going into the Christmas break with a win,” Graham said. “The girls know that I expect them to work out individually and meet up with their teammates, so we don’t come back out of shape. We have a really big tournament, the Bastrop Tournament.
“We won it last year, and the goal is to win it again.”
The tournament is scheduled to begin Dec. 28, and the Lady Roos’ first game is against Poth at 9 a.m.