If this is what area teams wanted, then they must like a form of self mutilation.
Getting all four Killeen ISD teams together along with Belton, Copperas Cove, Temple and Waco Midway and making a nice new District 8-5A, where travel was cut to the bone and rivalries were restored, sure did seem nice at this time last year.
But that was when District 8-5A was not running into a buzzsaw, watching as team after team was cut to shreds by District 7-5A.
The last two seasons, District 12-5A performed in the playoffs. Last year, Harker Heights made the regional quarterfinal. The year before that Ellison made the regional semifinal.
Not this year. The season is already over.
Killeen got squashed by the No. 1 team in the state, Duncanville (36-0) 65-33 in their 5A girls basketball bi-district playoff game Monday night. The Lady Pantherettes forced 25 turnovers, including eight in the third quarter, and the Lady Roos never had a chance.
Temple went down to No. 13 Mansfield Timberview. Copperas Cove fought to the end, and probably had the best matchup facing the only unranked playoff team from 7-5A in Cedar Hill, but still could not advance.
It was a woeful 1-3 first-round showing that only the Ellison Lady Eagles survived.
But even Sherry McKinnon’s team took a hit.
It spent all it had to defeat DeSoto 46-44 on a last-second shot by Kenesha Saygo. When it came time to lace up the sneakers again, they were worn down, exhausted and emotionally spent.
The Lady Eagles lost 47-35 Friday to unranked Flower Mound Marcus. This was an Ellison team that broke the program’s single-season win record and won a second outright district title in three years.
But they could not get over the wound inflicted upon them by the 7-5A buzzsaw.
Now that 7-5A has finished carving up KISD and its 8-5A counterparts and is now moving onto other delicacies. “It’s extremely hard not to (get intimidated), but you go out there, you try to have fun, you try to be hopeful and not come in, initially, defeated already,” Killeen forward Jasmine Goodwine said after the loss. “You put your best foot forward. You don’t have anything to lose.”
The Lady Bulldawgs seemingly had the best shot at winning going into the opening round, and they nearly pulled it off. Trailing 63-49 with less than six minutes remaining in the game, Shawnte’ Goff scored 11 of her team-high 19 points down the stretch to pull Copperas Cove within striking distance of Cedar Hill. However, her desperation heave at the buzzer was off target, and Cedar Hill escaped with a 69-68 victory.
So the girls are done, and the boys? Well, they might not be too far behind.
Copperas Cove has not made the playoffs since 2008.
More than likely, its stay in 2013 won’t be long. The Bulldawgs draw the top-ranked team in the state in DeSoto. Harker Heights gets No. 5 South Grand Prairie, and Ellison, despite winning the district title, gets No. 24 Duncanville. Shoemaker draws the only unranked team in Cedar Hill, which went 22-10 and 9-5 in 7-5A.
The Ellison matchup should be taking place in a region final. But instead it is a bi-district matchup — one the Eagles could lose if they are not careful. Duncanville is one of the two teams that beat No. 1 DeSoto this season and went 11-2 out of district.
The 7-5A buzzsaw is turning again, and until the next realignment, there may be no way to turn it off.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569