All it took was a momentary lapse.
Playing in its District 12-6A opener, Killeen emerged from the first quarter in position to potentially defeat visiting Waco Midway.
Then, however, the Lady Kangaroos lost focus.
The 10th-ranked Pantherettes recorded 15 unanswered points to open the second period, and Killeen never recovered, falling 46-36 to suffer a fifth consecutive defeat.
Following the outcome, Lady Kangaroos head coach Jennifer Graham admitted the one-sided showing to begin the second quarter was simply too much to overcome.
“In like the first minute,” she said, “they scored about eight points. We were turning the ball over on their side of the court, and that is something we definitely can’t do.
“It’s unacceptable, and Midway is a team that executes, and if you give them those opportunities, they’ll take advantage.”
With four players posting points in the opening quarter, Killeen claimed an 8-7 advantage following Rhepsey Wyman’s putback.
But the Lady Kangaroos would not score again for almost five minutes.
The Pantherettes took a 10-8 lead into the second quarter, where they embarked on their momentum-altering outburst, and Killeen did not end the streak until Kalia Wilborne connected on a pair of free throws with 4 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the half to make the score 25-10.
“With a team like Midway,” Graham said, “you cannot play catch-up. If you are ever playing with them, you have to push and push.
“You can’t miss shots and turn the ball over or this is the outcome.”
Midway’s cushion was 13 points, 29-16, at halftime, and the Lady Kangaroos never got closer than nine points — a margin they reached three times during the fourth quarter.
Tyanna Simpson, a freshman, and senior teammate Wyman each thrived for Killeen in the loss. Simpson finished with team-highs of nine points and 11 rebounds to go along with four blocks, while Wyman added eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“They’re always going to work,” Graham said, “and we need to feed them the ball more.
“A lot of people in the district are worried about our guards, but our post play is phenomenal, and we need to show that.”
Taniya Harrison complemented the showings by delivering eight points, while Wilborne finished with seven points and Brooklynn McCorkle added four points.
Now, the Lady Kangaroos must turn their attention away from district competition as they prepare to play in Georgetown’s three-day, 16-team Jack Frost Invitational.
Killeen plays San Antonio Incarnate Word on Thursday at 9 a.m. to open pool play before facing host Georgetown at 6 p.m. The Lady Kangaroos conclude pool play Friday against Austin Akins at noon.
“We have to come back and play (No. 23) Harker Heights on Tuesday,” Graham said. “We have to make sure we come in with a better mindset.
“We have to work on our mentality. ... We’re a work in progress, but we know that.”
DISTRICT 12-6A SCORES
- Copperas Cove 43, Belton 32
- Ellison 48, Waco 28
- No. 23 Harker Heights 68, Temple 36
- No. 10 Waco Midway 46, Killeen 36