Honea’s career night leads Cove past SA Central 104-73 in district opener
By TJ MAXWELL
When you’re hot, you’re hot and the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs were white hot as they put on an offensive clinic in their 104-73 win over the San Angelo Central Bobcats in their District 8-6A opener Friday night in Bulldawgs Gymnasium to improve to 16-1 on the year and 1-0 in district play.
“We have some guys that can shoot the basketball,” said Copperas Cove head basketball coach Billy White Jr. “When they are shooting the ball and shooting it well, that’s what we’re capable of doing. We had a lot of different guys scoring and that’s what helped us get to 104 points.
“That’s the thing with this team. They can get hot and score quickly. Once they get hot, the floodgates open. We have a drill called 105-5 where they have to get 105 makes in five minutes. Every month we increase it by five so we’re at 120 right now.”
Senior Justus Honea’s career-best 31 points led the torrent pace with seven three-pointers, including four as part of a 36-point first quarter. He was also a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
“When it goes in, it goes in,” said a smiling Honea. “I was just letting it fly. There was a spurt where I had two misses but my teammates know I can shoot so they just kept getting me the ball and it kept going in.
White feels Honea made have had some other fuel for his big night as well.
“He was definitely on fire tonight and that’s something he’s capable of doing at any given time,” he said. “I know he’s from that area so I that that added a little more motivation tonight.”
The Dawgs energy level seemed to fuel to scoring onslaught.
“Adrenaline is a big thing,” said Honea. “My teammates getting hyped - and I’m right there with them - is a big deal.”
Ball movement is another, says White.
“With this year’s group that ball just moves, so it’s tough for defenses to keep up with the basketball,” he said. “Once those guys catch it, they’re always catching it in rhythm and making that extra pass for a wide-open jump shot.
“I hate to compare them but if you look at the San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors and teams like that where they move the ball constantly and they have great shooters, those are the results you can get from that.”
After doubling up the Bobcats 36-18 in the first quarter, San Angelo Central outscored the Dawgs 26-21 in the second quarter to make it interesting at 57-44 heading into the second half.
It was all Cove from there.
The momentum stayed with the Bobcats for the first minute of the half until back-to-back three-pointers by Honea kick-started a 19-7 run to give the Bulldawgs a commanding 83-53 lead heading into the fourth period.
A bucket by Central senior Duriell Taylor and a three-pointer by sophomore Tristan Lopez pulled the Cats within 13 to start the frame but nine quick unanswered points by the Dawgs kick-started the Cove run.
A bucket in the paint, paired with the consecutive Honea treys, and 1 for 2 free throws by senior Jyhlil Rice made it a 71-51 contest before a bucket by senior Henry Teeter briefly halted the Dawgs’ run.
Another trip to the charity stripe by Rice, a bucket by senior Frank Alvarado on the assist by senior Neyland Block, and a pair of free throws by junior Quinton Ford in his first game back from injury, gave Cove a 76-53 lead with 2:25 left in the quarter.
Bobcat senior Jesse Scott cut the lead back to 21 before the seventh three-pointer of the game for Honea made it a 79-55 contest with just over a minute remaining in the third.
Central junior Michael Bonner answered with his own three but a converted 1 and 1 by Honea and a putback by junior post Tyrese Taylor closed out the quarter 83-58.
Senior reserve player Jonathan Wolverton then got in on the fun for the Dawgs in the fourth quarter. He converted two free throws on a 1 and 1 trip to the charity stripe and score on a putback to start the fourth quarter before hitting consecutive three pointers to give Cove a 33-point lead, 97-64.
The third-straight three-point basket, this one by Alvarado, put Cove at the century mark 100-64.
A 9-0 run by the Bobcats with shots by Bonner, Teeter, Taylor and a three-point play by senior Sean Fields cut the Cove lead to 27, 100-73, before a putback and two free throws by senior Deandre McKinnis closed out the contest 104-73.
“We have 12 guys that are willing to do whatever it takes to win.,” said Honea. “It’s just a hard-working group.”
Honea and Taylor took control of the contest for the Dawgs with 14 and eight points, respectively, to fire up the Cove scoring early and pace the 36-18 first-quarter advantage. Senior Tyrese Cooley and Rice added a bucket each while Ford added 2 for 2 free throws, Alvarado hit a bucket and a three and Block fired in the sixth three-pointer of the quarter by Cove to round out the Cove scorers in the period.
“He’s a big guy and no one can stop him when he’s plays to his full potential,” Honea said of junior post Tyrese Taylor. “He’s just a strong man.”
The Dawgs mixed up their offense in the second period with eight different players getting in on the scoring.
Senior Daveon Stringer and Taylor led the way with four points each while Honea (3), Ford (2), Cooley (2), Block (2), Rice (2) and Alvarado (2), accounted for the Dawgs’ 21 points in the period.
Six three pointers by the Bobcats kept them in the contest in the second quarter. Two threes each by junior Devereaux Minix and junior Owen Huff and one each from Scott and junior Kevon Yates led the way.
Honea finished with 31 points and six rebounds to lead the Dawgs. Taylor added 16 points and eight rebounds, Alvarado had 12 points and Wolverton had 10. Also scoring for Cove were Rice (8), Block (8), Ford (6), Stringer (4), Cooley (4) and senior Jacob Carter (1).
Taylor led the Bobcats with 19 points followed by Huff (10), Minix (9), Scott (8), Bonner (8), Yates (4), Jackson (3), Fields (3), Lopez (3), Teeter (2), Hendon (2) and Duarte (2).
The Dawgs return to action in a non-district contest against the Temple Wildcats Thursday at 1 p.m. at Bulldawg Gymnasium. The Dawgs will then play a holiday tournament at the Mike Smith Classic in Victoria before returning home or a district showdown against Ellison.
“We just have to keep up our intensity,” said Honea. “We know we can do this; we’ve just got to keep our minds to it and get stops on defense.”