By Tony Altobelli
Killeen Daily Herald
BURLESON Perhaps the Burleson High School gymnasium should be re-named the "Bo Burgess Miracle Factory."
Trailing by six with 1:41 left to play, guard Miguel Reyes hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers, then hit a reverse layup putback with 20.2 seconds remaining to give the Killeen Kangaroos a stunning 67-64 win over No. 15 Lancaster on Friday night in the area round of the playoffs.
"I'm exhausted and I'm without words," Burgess said. "Man, I love this place."
It was Burgess' second playoff comeback in a row at the BHS facility. The Roos overcame a late deficit to stun Flower Mound Marcus in overtime back in 1998.
Reyes, the senior shooting guard who struggled most of this past season, never gave up and neither did the Roos (21-13).
"I've been praying on this game all day long," Reyes said. "Nobody gave us a chance to win this game, but we all hung together and pulled it out."
Hanging tough the entire game, the Roos saw Lancaster (23-10) rip off 10 straight points early in the fourth quarter to take a 58-49 lead with 4:35 left, forcing Burgess to call timeout.
"I calmed the guys down and told them to keep their poise," Burgess said. "If we got a stop and a bucket, we would be back in the game."
Reyes took that message to heart.
With the Roos trailing by six with 1:41 left, Reyes sparked the game-winning 11-2 run with a 3 in the corner. Then, after a Lancaster turnover, Reyes again found some open ground and tied the game with a 3 near the top of the arc with a minute left to the tie the game.
"Miguel made me look like the smartest coach in the world when I sent him in right before that run," Burgess said. "I felt that Tre (Nichols) was getting tired a bit so I wanted to give him a breather. If Lancaster went into a stall, I knew Miguel could stay with any of their guards."
The Tigers, who breezed through District 14-4A play, found themselves in unfamilar territory, locked in a close game. Three straight possessions resulted in three straight turnovers.
Juaquin Iglesias, who led the Roos with 14 points, gave Killeen a 63-62 lead with a free throw, but Lancaster's Gene Mosby answered back with a leaning layup with 31.3 seconds to give the Tigers the lead once again.
After a Roo jumper fell short, Reyes was in the right place at the right time, quickly putting the ball up amongst the tall timbers of the Tiger post players and scoring with 20.2 seconds remaining.
"I was just hoping the ball was going to land in my hands," Reyes said. "When the ball went in, words can't describe how I felt."
That putback gave the undersized Roos a 27-8 advantage in second-chance points.
"They never played a team like us," Iglesias said. "We needed to keep it close and we knew that if we stayed with them down the stretch, they might tighten up. There's a lot of heart on this team."
Following another Tiger turnover, freshman Tre Nichols stepped up big and nailed two clutch free throws with 9.7 seconds left to pad the lead to three.
Mosby's desperation 3 missed its mark and the Roos had pulled off an upset.
Siena University-bound senior post standout Tarrence Garrison led the Tigers with 15 points, but was held to just four in the second half.
Killeen used its tenacity to even the game at 18 in the opening quarter, scoring 10 of its points on offensive rebounds.
Not shooting all that impressively, Killeen stayed in the game by simply allowing itself more shot attempts on the offensive glass and took a 34-31 lead at the end of the first half. The Roos took 16 more shots than the Tigers and held a 19-2 edge on second-chance points.
"I knew it was a lot, but I didn't know it was that many," Burgess said.
An Al Sherman three-point play again off an offensive rebound gave Killeen its biggest lead of the game (42-35) midway through the third, but Lancaster finally had an answer to the Roos' play.
The Tigers responded with a 13-5 run to close out the third to take a one-point lead into the final eight minutes, setting up the dramatic final quarter.
Killeen will face No. 9 Dallas South Oak Cliff, a 48-40 winner Friday over Ellison, on Tuesday at a place and time to be determined.
Contact Tony Altobelli at firstname.lastname@example.org