By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
PFLUGERVILLE – Unranked and unheralded Pflugerville Hendrickson did Killeen a favor last week by upsetting Lake Travis. The Hawks retrieved the favor Friday night with a 69-64 upset of the sixth-ranked Runnin' Roos (27-6, 7-2).
But not without a fight from Cory Jefferson.
Jefferson scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws after being intentionally fouled by Hendrickson's Adam Nwaozo, to cut the Hawks' once 15-point lead to just one with 3:54 remaining in the fourth.
Hendrickson (17-14, 7-2) stalled Killeen's rally and won its fifth straight game, despite hitting just 5-of-10 from the line down the stretch.
Hendrickson's last loss was a 67-62 loss at Killeen on Jan. 28.
"We're starting to come together ... it really started when we played against them at Killeen," said Hendrickson coach Jim Reid. "I knew in that game no lead was safe. Fifteen points, that wasn't near enough cushion against a team like Killeen."
Hendrickson can force a three-way tie for the 25-4A title with a win over Lampasas and a Killeen win over No. 5 Lake Travis on Tuesday.
"Cory was a beast, we've just got to get him some help," said Killeen coach Jason Fossett. "Cory's going to get his 20-something points a game,. Our guards have to start hitting some shots."
After Jefferson pulled the Roos to within one, Shon Lewis missed a pair of free throws before fouling out.
Jalen Washington, who had a team-high 17 points for the Hawks, hit one of two from the line, picked up his own rebound and dished to Jordan Harris for an easy layup to give the Hawks a 61-57 lead with 3:08 left.
Dwayne Coleman hit back-to-back buckets for a five-point Hendrickson lead and the Hawks hit 4-of-8 from the stripe down the stretch to stay far enough ahead to keep from completing the rally.
"Jefferson definitely played like every accolade he's been given. He earned those tonight," Reid said. "It was just a great game. I wish we would've hit a little more of our free throws there at the end, but we're still improving. Our record is 17-14 but that's indicative of this team."
Jefferson, who also hauled in 16 boards and blocked seven shots, gave Killeen its only lead with a game-opening field goal, but the Hawks scored nine straight points, forced four straight Killeen turnovers and led by seven with 1:49 to play in the first before Titus Barnes and Sedrick Jennings hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Hawks' lead to just four, 17-13, to start the second.
Hendrickson opened the second quarter with a 6-2 run and pushed the lead 11 on a Nwaozo exclamation putback slam with 4:06 to go before the break. Marquese Dunn converted a three-point play and added a dunk to match Hendrickson's largest lead, 17, with 2:13 left in the third. Even after a 3-pointer by Eric Flemming and two free throws from Jefferson, Jalen Washington's three with 11 seconds left in the quarter put Hendrickson up 15 to start the fourth.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.