• October 22, 2014

No easy nights in 8-5A boys hoops race

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Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 10:42 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

Celneque Bobbitt stood by the scorer’s table taking questions when he started to croon.

“Nobody wants to go on the blue Christmas 0-2. That’s what I was telling the guys, we were going to have a ba-ba-ba-ba-blue Christmas if we don’t win this one,” he said, stuttering the last line in almost harmonic melody.

The Harker Heights head basketball coach had just won his 250th game at the high school, and more importantly, had just picked up a crucial win in District 8-5A.

If they had lost to Shoemaker, the Knights would have been ba-ba-ba-ba-blue, as Bobbitt put it.

And maybe a little bit black, too.

They would have been beaten by two of their biggest competitors for playoffs spots in the district — not to mention rivals from their school district.

Heights had already dropped its opener to Ellison, the first it has lost to the Eagles in three years.

But that is how it is going to be this season.

The boys are only two games into the district slate, but it figures to be a tight playoff race between at least six teams for those coveted for slots.

That is why every game is crucial.

Heck, even Belton, which has been the district cellar-dweller in recent seasons, is primed for a playoff run.

The Tigers are 2-0 after upsetting Copperas Cove 72-66 in overtime Friday.

Thanks to Belton, all four Killeen ISD teams could make the playoffs. The Tigers pulled off the first upset of the season, beating the Bulldawgs black and blue.

Once thought to be a favorite for a district title behind Cory Scott and Rashard Odomes, the Dawgs are trying to claw their way back into the playoff race.

The four teams that figure to be ahead of them are Ellison, Heights, Shoemaker and Killeen — all of which have already won once in district play.

But, while an 0-2 start might make you start crooning, it won’t be impossible to overcome.

The Tigers and Eagles are the only two teams to start district 2-0. And undefeated records are not likely to last long. After the holiday break, Ellison hosts Copperas Cove and Belton hosts Killeen.

Both could go home with losses. If not then, possibly Tuesday when Belton plays at Shoemaker and Ellison travels a few miles up the road to face the Roos.

Belton will come back down to earth. It doesn’t matter how well senior Daniel Mills, who scored 29 against Cove, plays; Belton is going to have to fight for its playoff life.

The Tigers are not going to be the favorite.

Not because they can’t be, but because at this point, no one is the favorite. Not even 2-0 and preseason favorite Ellison.

Like Copperas Cove already figured out, every team is going to get upset. Everyone is going to be a bit blue at one point or another.

The district is too balanced.

“That don’t get us out of the run for the playoffs. It’s just one game. Mistakes, they outplayed us, can’t do nothing about it (now),” Shoemaker junior Shane Johnson said after the loss to Harker Heights. “We’ll learn from this. This is a mistake game and everybody else, we’re coming hard for them.”

He’s right. Mistakes happen.

Losses happen.

More than anything, though, every team has to fend off upsets, win at home and pull off an upset or two.

There is not a single team talented enough in District 8-5A that it can let its guard down now.

If one does, its players will be singing the ba-ba-ba-ba-blues around Valentine’s Day when everyone else is busy playing playoff basketball.

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