By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
TEMPLE - The Harker Heights Lady Knights' perfect season could still be intact, but their perfect record no longer is.
Temple outscored the Lady Knights 13-0 in a 3½-minute stretch between the second and third quarters and upset seventh-ranked Harker Heights 62-49 on Tuesday, handing the Lady Knights their first loss of the season.
"We knew that at some point we were going to lose or win out for the season," Harker Heights coach Shirretha Nelson said. "As long as we knew we did the best that we could do coming into the game, you've got nothing to be ashamed of. You go out, you fight, you play hard - the outcome is up in the air. You want to win every game, but sometimes you can't win every game.
"We wanted it, we didn't get it. Temple wanted it, they got it."
KeTara Chapel scored 25 points and Tyesha Taylor added 20 as the Tem-Cats (23-8, 7-3 12-5A) rallied from an 11-point deficit late in the second quarter to take a 34-33 lead on Alyssa Jones' 3-point play with 6:17 to go in the third.
Eboniey Jeter hit one of two free throws that gave the Lady Knights (29-1, 9-1) a 33-23 lead with 2:40 left in the second quarter, but Harker Heights didn't score again until JaQuan Jackson's putback gave the Lady Knights their last lead, 35-34, with 5:38 left in the third. Jazzmine Ortiz hit a 3 at the other end and Temple closed the quarter on a 13-4 run, getting all 13 points from Chapel and Taylor.
"That run right there, as far as getting the ball inside to Tye and Tara finishing it up ... that was the momentum we carried out to the third quarter," said Temple coach Tamarah Sanders. "I reminded the girls to start the third quarter the way you finished the second quarter."
Jackson scored on a jumper with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter to cut the Tem-Cats lead to 54-45, but Taylor, Temple's 6-foot-3 sophomore post, stretched the lead back to double digits and the Tem-Cats hit 6 of 9 free throws in the final three minutes to hold on for a win that eluded them in a 43-41 loss at Harker Heights in the first round of the district schedule.
"I don't even think we pondered on it," Sanders said. "We knew we were going up against a good team and when we played them the first round, I thought we put ourselves in a good situation to where we could've won the game, but we just came up short. So this time, we just had to make sure that we didn't have that same feeling that we had back in December."
Shanice Davis led the Lady Knights with 12 points while Jackson and Jeter scored 11 and 10, respectively. Jeter, who scored the go-ahead putback in the Lady Knights' win over Temple earlier this season, also had 10 rebounds.
"There's no excuse, we just didn't execute when we needed to execute," Nelson said. "I can't take anything away from Temple. We've had games where we've struggled, we just need to work harder in the gym, apparently."
At first, it didn't look like the Lady Knights would need any last-minute heroics to remain undefeated.
Harker Heights used a 15-4 run to take 24-13 lead late in the first quarter and led 24-16 going into the second. Davis and Jeter each converted three-point plays to give the Lady Knights their first 11-point lead with 47 seconds left in the first.
But Heights missed its final seven shots of the first half and first two of the second before Jackson's bucket snapped a scoreless drought that last 5:02.
Now that the perfect season is over, is there any less pressure on Harker Heights?
"That's a hard question," Nelson said. "That's been a hard question all season long, it's just we've got to get out and go play basketball. And that's something we've got to do a little bit better."