No. 8 Lady Dawgs open 8-6A action with 53-35 rout of Belton
By TJ MAXWELL
BELTON - The no. 8 ranked (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs improved to 16-2, 1-0 in District 8-6A action with a lopsided 53-35 win over the Lady Tigers Friday night in Belton.
“It feels great,” senior Erica Powell said after the win. “Last year we came over here and they were running motion and we weren’t good on defense. This year, we have a lot of momentum and talent. We’ve been playing together so long I can’t remember and the chemistry on the team is great.”
The defense set the pace for the Lady Dawgs as they held the Lady Tigers to just 12 first-half points on their way to a 34-12 lead after two quarters.
“That’s our game plan,” said Cove head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams. “We wanted to come in and pick up the intensity from start to finish but I don’t know if the third-quarter jinx is on me or not. I’m going to have to ask Coach White what I need to do about that third quarter because we seem to have a letdown every time, but any time you can come out and establish the first two quarters, it’s good. It’s not good to have a letdown but within the course of a game, you can expect that to happen.”
Belton took the early lead on a putback by Natasha Blizzard before 12-consecutive points by Cove made it a 12-2 contest with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
A three-pointer by sophomore Madisen Honea and a three by junior Madison Griffon on the assist from Honea made it a 7-2 Cove lead before Griffon returned the favor with the assist to Honea on the third three of the run for Cove. Griffon then drove the paint for the 12-2 Cove lead.
Senior Erica Powell then stepped in to give a presence in the paint with four rebounds in just over two minutes of action to close the period after eight offensive boards by Belton allowed second- and third-chance opportunities.
“It’s really important because Belton is a team that can attack but, the way the game went today, we forced them to shoot outside because the paint was clogged,” said Erica Powell. “We knew they were tall enough to get the rebounds and go back up so we just had to shut that down.”
The presence Powell brings to the interior is invaluable, says McAdams.
“That’s why we just continue to bring her in off the bench,” he said. “When she comes in, we go to another level pretty much.”
Powell feels it’s vital to bring intensity every time she’s inserted into the lineup.
“It’s very important,” she said. “This is my last year so I have to leave everything on the court. I have to bring the energy and momentum on the court with me. To see the (fans) cheering it just eggs me on to do better.”
A three-pointer by Belton’s Presleigh York briefly halted the run before a putback by Destiny Miller and 1 for 2 free throws by Powell made it a 15-5 Cove lead after one quarter of action.
A bucket by Powell on the assist by Griffon kick-started a 19-5 run by the Lady Dawgs to begin the second quarter.
Belton answered with a three-pointer by Taylin Wesley for a 17-8 Cove lead when a drive by Griffon, a putback by Powell, a steal for a layup by Honea and a three-pointer by Leah Powell quickly ballooned the Cove lead to 16, 26-10, with 3:07 left in the half.
Another steal by Honea led to a Leah Powell layup for the 18-point Cove lead before a putback by Erica Powell, a long two by her sister Leah Powell and a steal by senior Mariyah Reynolds resulting in a Leah Powell jumper pushed Cove’s lead to 24, 34-10.
A bucket by Belton’s Wesley closed out the half with a 34-12 score.
The Lady Tigers cut the Lady Dawgs’ lead to 12, 42-30, spanning the third and fourth quarters on an 18-8 run.
Three-pointers by Elisa Priddy and Wesley and bucket by Risha Rice pulled Belton within 15, 40-25, before a bucket by Cove’s Reynolds and one by Belton’s Rice closed out the third quarter at 42-27.
“They did fight back and cut it down but we were able to stay with it and we came back strong so I’m definitely excited,” said McAdams.
A pair of turnovers by Cove and a three by Belton’s Wesley cut the Cove lead to 12, 42-30, with 6:47 left before a free throw by sophomore Kaysha McCloud and a layup by Erica Powell extended Cove’s lead back to 15, 45-30.
Another three by Priddy again made it a 12-point contest before 4 for 4 free throws by Erica Powell and a pair of buckets by McCloud closed out the Cove scoring. Wesley scored on a driving layup for Belton to close out the Lady Tigers’ scoring.
Powell led the Lady Dawgs with 15 points and seven rebounds while Honea added 13 points, three assists and two steals. McCloud (9), Leah Powell (7), Griffon (7) and Miller (2) accounted for the rest of the Cove scoring. Griffon led Cove with six assists.
Priddy and Wesley led the Lady Tigers with 11 points each, followed by Blizzard (4), Rice (4), York (3) and Alexis Wade (2).
The Lady Dawgs return to action tonight at home against the no. 16 (TABC) Waco Midway Pantherettes (13-3).
“We just have to continue playing Lady Dawg basketball,” said McAdams. “Midway is going to be good but we just have to continue doing what we do regardless of whose name is on the other jersey.
“We just have to keep everything the same. We haven’t taken off practice because we’re ranked in the state. We still get after it and we still hold them to a high standard. Our goal and what we’ve been preaching all year is just to stay as a unit. Everyone is buying in to what we’re trying to do. We’re inside, we’re outside and we’re sharing the basketball. It just looks good and it’s fun to watch at times.”