Bulldawgs fall to strong Round Rock, Lake Travis teams
By TJ MAXWELL
Copperas Cove boys head basketball coach, Travis Boyce Jr, wants his team battle-tested before District 12-6A play begins on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at home against the Temple Wildcats.
He got just that in his Monday/Tuesday matchups with the Round Rock Dragons and Lake Travis Cavaliers.
The Bulldawgs came up against the hot shooting of Round Rock’s Reese Miller on Monday where Miller scored 35 of the Dragons’ 67 points in the 67-45 win over the Dawgs.
Cove was led by junior guard Henry Sanchez with 14 points, followed by seniors Sean Anderson and Maurice “Mo” Henry with nine points each.
On Tuesday, the Bulldawgs faced Lake Travis and several hot shooters in the third quarter of their 50-42 loss.
“I set the schedule up like that on purpose,” said Boyce. “We love playing teams like that because I feel like that sets us up for a better path when we get to district. We could set our schedule up to be 20-0 heading into district, but if we’re not growing and learning you get to district and get busted up.
“We’re going to have some ups and downs, but as long as our guys are learning and growing during the process, I can live with it.”
After keeping the score within four points in the first half the Cavaliers pulled away in the third quarter with five three-pointers from three different players to open up a 13-point lead, 45-32, entering the final eight minutes of play.
The Bulldawgs battled back within four, 46-42 after a steal for a layup by Anderson with 56 seconds left, but the Cavaliers secured the win with 4 for 6 free throws down the stretch for the 50-42 win.
It was a back-and-forth affair to begin the contest as a putback by Henry and a three-pointer by Sanchez put the Bulldawgs up 5-4 early.
After a basket by Lake Travis junior Teddy Tapken flipped the lead to the Cavs, a reverse layup and another basket by sophomore Bryce Smith put Cove back in front 9-6.
The Cavs finished the quarter with a putback by senior Lou Denning, a three by freshman Hudson Greer and a bucket by sophomore Chas Biegel for a 13-9 lead after one quarter.
A dunk by Greer by the Cavs bench excited, but a Sanchez three and a pair of free throws by junior Trevon Bostick knotted the game at 15-all with 4:17 left in the half.
Greer responded with a three, followed by a free throw by Tapken and a putback by Greer for a 21-15 Lake Travis lead.
Another Sanchez three cut the lead back to three, 21-18, before a free throw by sophomore Hunter Duran closed at the half with a 22-18 Cavaliers’ lead.
Both teams upped the scoring in the third quarter with Cav senior AJ Cuen hitting three three-pointers to open up the third, along with a basket by Tapken and a trey by senior Bennett Moore that put the Cavs up by 13, 36-23.
A basket by Henry slowed the roll of Lake Travis but a three by senior Stephen Everett gave the Cavs their largest lead at 14, 39-25.
A three by and a basket by Cove’s Sanchez, along with a basket each from Lake Travis’ Greer and senior Braden Goldsmith, pushed the score to 43-30 before a free throw each by Bostick and Smith made a 43-32 lead after three quarters.
Sanchez scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the period.
Lake Travis slowed it down and played keep away in the fourth quarter and it almost cost them as baskets by Anderson, Smith, and senior De’Quan Seda, two free throws from Sanchez and a steal for a layup by Anderson brought Cove back within two scores, 46-42.
Free throws by Denning, Everett and Duran iced the game for Lake Travis for the final score of 50-42.
Smith added 10 to Sanchez’ 18 points while Henry added five, followed by Anderson (4), Bostick (3), and Seda (2).
Greer led the Cavs with 12 points followed by Denning (9), Cuen (9), Tapken (7), Everett (4), Moore (3), Goldsmith (2) and Biegel (2).
The Bulldawgs (1-2) are off a week for Thanksgiving break. They return to action Tuesday, Nov. 30 at home against Hutto before opening tournament play Dec. 2-4 in Marble Falls.
“We haven’t had tournaments yet,” said Boyce. “We are probably one of the teams in the state with the least number of games so far.
“This time was good for us to build a bond and get the kids playing together with some chemistry. We’re about to go to battle pretty soon and I think we’ll be ready for it and I think we’re in shape for it.”