By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Having already played five of the eight teams from District 12-5A, Killeen girls basketball coach Latisha Williams is no closer to knowing how that district is likely to shake out.
Following Killeen's 56-47 win over Belton on Tuesday, the Lady Roos (6-5) have gone 1-4 against the area 5A teams. That includes the season-opening loss to Ellison (53-31), and three straight to Temple (70-49), Copperas Cove (62-44) and Harker Heights (47-43).
"Ellison, Temple or Cove - take your pick," Williams said. "I don't know, but it's going to be a battle."
Despite her team's struggles, Williams - a Killeen graduate herself - pointed to maintaining the local rivalries as a big reason she schedules the 12-5A teams.
"I know we definitely have to play better when we play them," Williams said. "And it's also a good emotional thing because all the girls around here know each other, and if nothing else, I know I'm going to get a decent effort from them - especially when we play Cove, Temple and Ellison."
The trio are three of last year's four playoff teams, not counting defending 12-5A champion Bryan.
This year, with 12-5A play beginning Tuesday, the No. 23 Lady Eagles (12-3) open against Bryan, while Harker Heights (12-3) is at Shoemaker (6-9), Copperas Cove (10-3) is at Belton (6-9), and Temple (12-4) hosts A&M Consolidated.
Salado to host 9th annual tourney
Despite a rough start at last year's Coach Smith Memorial tournament, the Salado girls rallied to win three straight games and place third.
The boys weren't so lucky - getting routed in the fifth-place game - in what ended up being a rough season (14-14) in the Eagles' last at Class 2A.
This year though, the now 3A Salado boys enter the 9th annual Coach Smith Memorial tournament off to a 5-1 start to the season thanks to an experienced group of returners, while the Lady Eagles have struggled to a 3-6 mark against teams from mostly higher classifications.
The Eagles are led by 6-foot-7 senior post Braxton Tucker to go along with sharpshooting junior wing Koby Spears and senior guards Jacob Heiner and Tony Sager.
The Lady Eagles, which are without starting point guard Brennan Boydstun (preseason knee injury), will depend on senior wing Hadley Joiner and a trio of posts in seniors Jenna Sebek and Katy Clark, and junior Carling Urben.
Games of the week
Copperas Cove girls (10-3) at Gatesville (7-5), 7 p.m. - The Lady Bulldawgs, which won their first six games of the season, take on their neighbors to the north in a scrappy Gatesville squad missing it's best player, McKamie Place. Both teams are looking to win their third straight after suffering back-to-back losses in tournament play last weekend.
Harker Heights girls (12-3) vs. Arlington Bowie (at Hill College), 6:30 p.m. - Off to their best start under third-year coach Shirretha Nelson, the Lady Knights will try to start another win streak after a six-game stretch was halted in the championship game of the Aldine ISD Invitational.