Almost all of the district races have begun.
With the conclusion of the holidays marking the end of tournaments, the focus for a majority of the area’s teams has now shifted toward the final weeks of the regular season, when every outcome factors into playoff possibilities.
And almost every team is already experiencing the pressure associated with district competition.
Only three boys teams — Gatesville, Lampasas and Salado — are not in action tonight, while the Lake Belton boys host Rogers in their nondistrict finale. All four squads open district play Friday.
Additionally, the Gatesville girls are on a bye.
All remaining teams are each fighting for postseason berths, and plenty of important games, including a pair of District 12-6A girls contests featuring four of the top five teams in the standings and a District 12-6A boys clash overflowing with premier players, are on tonight’s schedule.
ELLISON AT BELTON: After losing grasp of their position as the district’s top team, the Lady Eagles took a significant step toward reclaiming their spot by defeating two-time defending champion Harker Heights 56-44 on Friday to create a tie with the Lady Knights for first place.
Now, Ellison (4-1) must maintain the momentum against the Lady Tigers, who are desperate to create some.
Belton (3-2) has alternated wins and losses throughout district so far, but it can produce its first winning streak tonight after outscoring Copperas Cove 22-7 in the fourth quarter to earn a 47-37 road victory Friday.
Recent history, however, is not on the Lady Tigers’ side as the Lady Eagles have won 10 of the previous 11 encounters, including four consecutive.
HARKER HEIGHTS AT KILLEEN: Led by standout junior Taleiyah Gibbs, the Lady Kangaroos (3-2) are establishing themselves as a postseason contender after missing the playoffs in each of the last two years.
But while Killeen is displaying its will to win, the Lady Knights’ pedigree is proven.
Entering the season, Harker Heights (4-1) only experienced two losses through its previous 29 district games, and the Lady Knights were unblemished this season until Ellison tarnished the record Friday.
Getting back on track against the up-and-coming Lady Kangaroos will not be easy, but if Harker Heights does not bounce back, it will suffer its first two-game district losing skid since 2018, when Killeen defeated the Lady Knights 49-36 on the heels of a 40-33 loss to Belton.
BROWNWOOD AT LAMPASAS: Perhaps no area team has delivered a stronger start to the season than the Lady Badgers, who have outscored their opponents by more than 500 points en route to a 22-6 overall record, and they are coming off their most impressive outing yet.
Ranked 14th in the Texas Girls Coaches Association state poll, Lampasas (1-0) opened its District 6-4A schedule by defeating Gatesville 88-23 on the road Friday for its second 60-point victory of the season behind another rare accomplishment.
In the first district game of her varsity career, Lady Badgers freshman guard Addison Borchardt posted an 18-point, 10-steal, 10-assist triple-double versus the Hornets.
Brownwood (0-1) is coming off a 41-26 loss to No. 11 Glen Rose, which Lampasas will play Jan. 18 after traveling to No. 23 Stephenville on Friday.
BELTON AT ELLISON: Neither of these teams is accustomed to their current positions.
For years, the Eagles (1-2) have dominated the district, delivering multiple championships while continually situating themselves in the state rankings, but so far, they have struggled, sitting in a three-way tie for fifth place.
Conversely, the Tigers (2-1) are attempting to keep pace with No. 14 Harker Heights as they try to win a district title after ending a two-year playoff absence last season.
Regardless of tonight’s outcome, fans will witness plenty of talent as Ellison junior guard Jamyron Keller, the defending all-district most valuable player, and Belton senior forward T.J. Johnson, the defending all-district offensive player of the year, highlight the pair of athletic rosters.
TUESDAY’S GIRLS SCHEDULE
- Ellison (4-1) at Belton (3-2)
- Bryan (1-4) at Copperas Cove (1-4)
- Temple (3-2) at Shoemaker (1-4)
- Harker Heights (4-1) at Killeen (3-2)
- Brownwood at Lampasas
- Gatesville BYE
- Lake Belton at Salado
- No. 25 Academy at Florence
TUESDAY’S BOYS SCHEDULE
- Belton (2-1) at Ellison (1-2)
- Copperas Cove (1-2) at Bryan (2-1)
- Killeen (0-3) at No 14 Harker Heights (3-0)
- Shoemaker (2-1) at Temple (1-2)
- Lampasas OPEN
- Gatesville OPEN
- Rogers at Lake Belton
- Salado OPEN
- No. 10 Academy at Florence