Temple head coach Michael Thomas will make sure to remind just about everybody any chance he gets that each victory is important and never to be taken lightly.
After failing to put the ball into the back of the net during Tuesday, Temple and Harker Heights found the challenge more manageable during penalty kicks.
Temple and Harker Heights went to penalty kicks after 80 scoreless minutes in the books and the Lady Knights denied the Lady Wildcats a win in their District 12-6A home opener with a 5-3 advantage in penalty kicks.
Temple kept reaching the doorstep and Harker Heights continued to turn away the Wildcats.
The visiting Knights mustered enough moxie Tuesday to protect an increasingly fragile second-half advantage, answering the call each time Temple threatened and staving off one final push for a 72-64 District 12-6A victory at Wildcat Gym.
Temple’s chance to grab a two-game lead over Copperas Cove for fourth place at the midway juncture of the District 12-6A schedule began to fizzle during the last 25 seconds of the second quarter Friday night, steadied and then fully sputtered out in the fourth, and the Tem-Cats will settle for a tie in that all-important playoff-qualifying spot as the teams make the turn.
Losers of two straight District 12-6A contests, the Temple Wildcats were almost in must-win mode Tuesday night.
That wasn’t a good thing for the Hewitt Midway Panthers, who walked into Wildcat Gym trying to maintain their unblemished district record.
Much to the chagrin of her head coach, Temple’s Aaliyah Thomas passed up a handful of what appeared to be open looks at the basket and elected to fulfill more of a distributor role during the first half of Friday’s District 12-6A game against Waco at Wildcat Gym.
Temple freshman forward Eric Ortiz needed less than a half of his varsity debut Thursday to prove he could play at the top high school level.