Bulldawgs must wait longer to rebound from loss to no. 11 Ellison
By TJ MAXWELL
KILLEEN – After earning their fifth win in seven games to open the season, including a 65-59 win over Temple to open district play, the Bulldawgs ran into a buzzsaw that is the no. 11-ranked Ellison Eagles and were outscored 41-24 in the second half of their District 12-6A pre-Christmas showdown.
“They are a good team,” said Copperas Cove head coach Travis Boyce Jr. after the loss. “They’re one of those teams where you can’t afford to make mistakes, or they’ll make you pay. Every mistake we made, they capitalized on each one. That’s the difference between a tight game and them opening up on us like they did in the second half.”
Now the Bulldawgs will have to wait until after the New Year’s holiday to get back on the court as COVID-19 has wiped away yet another non-district contest for the Bulldawgs with Waco University cancelling Wednesday’s non-district tilt in Waco.
“Now we go into the breaks and that’s somewhat tough for all of us as coaches because now we have to hope these kids do what they’re need to do and come back with at least some kind of conditioning,” said Boyce.
The Bulldawgs held the high-octane Eagles in check for the first half of their District 12-6A contest held last Tuesday at Ellison High School as they tied the Eagles in the first quarter and trailed by just five points at the half.
Ellison would show why their ranked in the top 10 as they exploded for 12 unanswered points to begin the second half on their way to outscore the Dawgs 17-10 in the period and extend their lead to 12, 47-35, entering the final frame. Three-pointers by senior Javon Walker and sophomore Jamyron Keller along with baskets by senior Trendon Stewart, senior Jayce Wright and Keller accounted for the 12-0 run.
“We have to stay consistent through that and that’s what we preach to the boys,” said Boyce. “We have to be able to sustain that for 32 minutes.”
Baskets by juniors Dequan Seda, Maurice Henry and Marcel Anderson helped Cove narrow the gap but another three by junior Calvin Harper helped Ellison maintain their double-digit lead.
The Eagles again got off to a hot start to open the final frame with the fourth Eagles’ three-pointer of the second half and the second for Keller before two baskets and a traditional three-point play by Wright pushed Ellison’s lead to 20, 57-37 with just over six minutes to play.
A basket by Anderson briefly slowed the Eagles’ run before another traditional three-point play by Stewart and a three from beyond the arc by Walker launched a 10-0 run to push the lead to 28, 67-39.
A jump shot by Cove senior Alonnie Carter and 2 for 4 free throws by senior Isaiah Chisolm, 1 for 2 from Henry and a three-pointer from Chisolm closed out Cove’s scoring while baskets by Walker and senior Isaiah Washington closed out the scoring for the Eagles for the 71-49 final score.
Baskets by Carter, sophomore Henry Sanchez and senior Jon McDowell helped Cove take an early 8-6 lead over Ellison in the first quarter.
Cove extended their lead to four with a three-pointer by Carter before Ellison knotted the game at 13-13 with three free throws by senior Deondra Thomas.
The Bulldawgs again took the lead on a traditional three-point play by Seda and a basket by Sanchez for an 18-15 Cove lead with 6:20 left in the half.
An ‘and one’ play by Keller flipped the lead back to Ellison, 19-18, before a basket by Chisolm moved Cove back in front.
A pair of baskets by sophomore Kesean Garland and two from Stewart, including and emphatic dunk, put Ellison in front 27-20.
Another trey by Carter and a basket by Carter with 49.1 second left for Cove and free throws by Ellison’s Thomas and Wright closed out the first half with the 30-25 Eagles’ lead.
Carter had a game-high 20 points to lead the Bulldawgs followed by Sanchez (8), Chisolm (7), Seda (4), Henry (3), Anderson (2), McDowell (2), freshman Bryce Smith (2) and sophomore Warren Fleming (1).
Keller led the Eagles’ scoring with 18 followed by Stewart (11, Garland (9), Walker (8), Wright (8) and Thomas (7).
The Bulldawgs (5-3 overall, 1-1 in 12-6A) have another tough test when they return to district action next Tuesday at home against the Belton Tigers (10-1, 1-0).
“We’ve just got to make sure our kids stay completely locked in and focused on getting the things done we need to get done on the floor and stay aggressive for 32 minutes and I think we’ll give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs,” said Boyce.