By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Mop-up duty came early for the Killeen High reserves but not because the starters put the game away early.
Ja'Corie Baker hit six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points, but the Killeen back-ups scored 15 of the Runnin' Roos 38 first-half points helping eighth-ranked Killeen beat Hutto 73-49.
"I told them (after the game) 'When you're name's called, you've got to do something that helps us' not continue the slop that was going on out there at times," said Killeen High coach Jason Fossett.
Killeen (19-7, 2-0 25-4A) turned the ball over 23 times, including 14 in the first half, but, defensively, held the Hippos to 19 points including just eight off of turnovers.
Kameron Washington, who scored a bench-high 11 points, hit seven of his eight free throws and scored on a layup in the third quarter that put Killeen up 55-30 2:40 before the fourth. Deron Cross, who finished with 10 points, scored six points in the first quarter off of four offensive rebounds and turned a 6-6 tie with 3:48 left into a 12-9 Killeen lead two minutes before the second quarter.
Anthony Taylor came off the bench to score Killeen's first four points of the second quarter and assisted the first of Baker's three second-quarter 3-pointers and Washington hit 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.
"The bench, we just come out hard and play if we get the chance," said senior Washington. " ... If the starters aren't doing it, we just try to pick up what they're slacking on. We just pick up and play hard when they're not doing good."
Baker hit three third-quarter 3-pointers and Ta'Shawn Thomas, who finished with 11 points, hit a pair of free throws in a minute-and-a-half stretch after Hutto (10-13, 0-2) opened the second half on a 7-0 run. The Hippos run cut the Roos' 19-point halftime lead to 12 with 6:18 left, but Baker's third 3-pointer of the quarter put Killeen up 49-26 with 4½ left in the period.
Hutto's Denzel Bellinger, who scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter, hit a 3-pointer that gave Hutto a 9-8 lead with 2:40 left in the opening quarter. But Cross followed with a pair of putbacks and Baker and Thomas added layups for the Roos, who finished the quarter on an 8-2 run that put Killeen up 16-11.
"In the first half, I thought we turned the ball over a little bit, but we played good defense," Fossett said. "We took away some of the things that they like to do. ... We played pretty good defense throughout, but just turned the ball over way too much."
After Friday's game at Lampasas, the Roos travel to Pflugerville Hendrickson before returning home to play sixth-ranked Lake Travis next Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.