3-ball, free throws cost Dawgs in Austin

By TJ MAXWELL

AUSTIN – Efficient shooting from beyond the arc for Westlake, paired with 50 percent shooting from the free throw line in the fourth quarter by Cove allowed the Chaparrals to defend their home court with a 66-53 win over the Bulldawgs on Tuesday.
 
“The players kept their composure, even though it was tough,” said Cove head coach Billy White Jr. after the loss. “We still had opportunities were we executing down the stretch, we just didn’t make the shots. We got the shots we wanted but we just didn’t knock them down.”
 
The Bulldawgs took a 22-19 lead over the Chaps on a bucket by senior Malyk Thomas with an assist by senior Devante Robinson and extended that lead with a put back dunk by freshman Quinton Ford with time winding down in the first half.
 
Westlake quickly snatched the momentum back with seven unanswered points to close the half as part of a 26-11 run over the next 8:45 of game action that put the Chaps firmly in control 45-33 heading into the final eight minutes of action.
 
The Dawgs cut into that lead in the fourth with an 11-4 run to get within five, 53-48, that began on a three-pointer by Dahmir Pearson and ended with five-consecutive points in the paint by Robinson.
 
That was as close as they would get as Westlake broke Cove’s traps and press coverage for several easy buckets down the stretch to push their lead back to 12 by the end of regulation.
 
“That’s the situation we put ourselves in being down double-digits this late in the game,” said White. “You can’t drop back and play man or they’ll just hold the ball so we had to get up and pressure and try to force some turnovers.”
 
That task was made more difficult with starting post Wyatt Behara out of the game with a lower-leg injury.
 
“We gave them a few easy baskets there at the end,” said White. “We were gambling and scrambling to get back in to it. With a guy out of position that usually doesn’t play there when he’s used to being up front being a part of the press and trap and you throw him in the situation where he’s not in that, things like that happen.”
 
The Dawgs managed 10 attempts from the free throw stripe in the quarter but only were able to collect on five of them. Westlake was 5 for 8 from the charity stripe in the quarter but had several uncontested shots after break the full court press by Cove.
 
“It comes down to free throws,” said White. “I don’t know what the numbers were but, if we make our free throws, we’re probably right there. The main thing I’m going to take from this one is we have to make free throws. In the three games we shot well from the free throw line, we won. The two we didn’t shoot well from the free throw line, we lost.
 
The Chaps held the ball much of the fourth quarter despite having their most points of any quarter with 21 in the frame. The Dawgs’ defense would hold them on one play, forcing a turnover, before they would give up an easy basket on the next attempt.
 
Coach White knows those moments are teachable ones for his youth infused squad that have had just five regular season games together.
 
“There are some things we’ll be able to go back and show them on film like when they get in situations where they are trying to hold the ball and stuff like that,” said White. We can show them what they need to do in those situations. You can work that in practice but until you’re in a live-game situation where they are literally holding the ball and not trying to score, so you can’t help off you man. It’s something totally different from what we’ve been teaching as far as help defense. There, you’re not going to help because they’re trying to hold the ball.”
 
Cove began the game on a 6-2 run capped by a lob by Pearson that was slammed down by Thomas and another bucket by Thomas gave Cove an 8-4 lead but the Chaps closed the period on a 9-0 run to take a 13-8 lead into the second period.
 
The Chaps extended that lead to seven with one of their six converted three-pointers on the night.
 
A 12-2 run took back the lead for Cove, 22-19. A bucket by Robinson kick-started the run while a steal and layup by Ford cut the lead to one, 17-16. A basket by Westlake junior Alex Neahusan put the Chaps back up by three but six unanswered Cove points, highlighted by the put back slam by Ford, gave the Dawgs the 22-19 lead.
 
Pearson and a length of the floor layup by Pearson scored a team-high 15 points for the Dawgs while Thomas added 14 and Robinson closed out the double-digit scoring with 11. Ford had eight rebounds to lead the Dawgs.
 
Sophomore Matthew Mayer led all scorers with 18 for Westlake followed by Neahusan (16) and sophomore Luke Pluymen (14).
 
The Dawgs look to gain valuable experience when they get in nearly a game a day on average over the next two weeks.
 
The Dawgs began yesterday at the Austin Bowie tournament that continues through tomorrow. They return home Monday for an international matchup with the Australian team the Horizon Crocs before returning to the road for the Leander tournament Dec. 10-12 and a contest at Waco La Vega on Dec. 15. The Dawgs tip off the district schedule at home against Ellison on Friday, Dec. 18.
 
“We were actually talking about that on the bus ride over with the coaching staff,” said White. “I think the number was like 15 games in the next two weeks, which is great. We can get them some playing time experience and our young guys can play multiple minutes versus the spare minutes here and there in the single games we’ve been having.
 
“With that many games, our top guys aren’t going to be able to play 32 minutes in consecutive games and days so its great to have opportunities to throw those guys into the fire. When we finish that, we go right on to Ellison on the 18th. It’s great to have those games and we’re looking forward to it.”
 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207