Bulldawgs unable to keep pace with Eagles in second half of 74-53 loss
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs were looking to move to 2-0 in district play when the Ellison Eagles came to town Tuesday night and it looked like they were on track for that goal after the first eight minutes of action that saw them lead 22-16.
The Eagles had different plans, however, as they outscored the Bulldawgs 58-30 over the next three quarters to earn a 74-53 win and improve to 1-1 in District 12-6A play.
The biggest discrepancy came in the fourth quarter when the Eagles’ pressure defense held the Bulldawgs to just seven points in the period while putting up their best quarter on the offense end with 24 points.
Leading by just four points entering the fourth quarter, 50-46, the Eagles exploded with seven different players scoring in the period, led by 6-foot-6 junior forward Ademola Oladipo with seven of his 17 points coming in the fourth.
A three-pointer by Ellison junior Khris Wilkerson set the early tone for the Eagles before an Oladipo dunk and a pair of traditional three-point plays by Oladipo and national prospect junior Jamyron Keller started a 15-0 run for the Eagles. Baskets by junior Kesean Garland, Keller and senior Darius Wilson and free throws by Garland and Oladipo paced the Eagles to a 70-50 lead with under two minutes to play.
Another Wilson basket and one by freshman Jojo McIver closed out the Eagles’ scoring for the final score of 74-53.
A driving finger roll by sophomore Bryce Smith, a basket by sophomore post Michael Uini early in the quarter, along with a free throw by senior Marcellus Anderson and a reverse layup with time winding down, accounted for Copperas Cove’s seven points in the quarter.
Keller finished with a game-high 23 points with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals to lead the Eagles. Oladipo added six rebounds to his 17 points while Wilkerson also notched double digits with 13 points and two assists. Garland added five points, a block and a steal, followed by junior Jeremiah Jones (4 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assts), Wilson (4 pts, blk, stl), sophomore Kris White (3 pts, 2 rebs) junior Ja’Darius Murphy (3 pts, 2 rebs), and McIver (2 pts, reb).
Junior Henry Sanchez led the Bulldawgs with 12 points and an assist with seven of his 12 points coming in the first quarter. Smith added nine points and an assist, followed by senior Maurice “Mo” Henry (7 pts, 3 rebs, 2 blks, stl), Uini (7 pts, 4 rebs), Anderson (7 pts), junior jayde Triplett (6 pts, 2 rebs, 2 stls), and senior De’Quan Seda (5 pts, reb).
After free throws from both teams began the contest, a three-pointer by Cove’s Anderson and a basket Sanchez along with baskets by Ellison’s Garland and Oladipo made it a 6-6 tie.
Three-pointers by Sanchez and Seda, a finger roll by Smith and a putback by Henry quickly gave Cove a 10-point, 18-8, lead with 4:34 left in the first.
A three-point play by Murphy pulled Ellison back within seven 18-11 before a Seda basket made it a nine-point lead for Cove.
A putback by Ellison’s Jones and a streaking basket by Sanchez made it a 22-13 game before a last-second three by Keller made it 22-16 after one quarter.
The Eagles quickly took control in the second quarter, 26-22, with 10 unanswered points on three-pointers by Keller and White and baskets by Keller and Wilkerson to start the frame.
A basket by Triplett and a putback by Uini knotted the game at 26-all.
A basket by Keller and two free throws by Anderson made it 28-all before a three from beyond the arc by Ellison’s Wilkerson was answered with a basket and a foul by Henry for a 31-31 tie with 42.1 seconds left.
Wilkerson gave Ellison back the lead with another three before a pair of free throws by Cove’s Sanchez ended the first-half scoring with the Eagles leading 34-33.
After a putbakc by Oladipo gave Ellison the edge to begin the third, a Sanchez three-pointer knotted the game once again at 36-36.
Another run by the Eagles, paced by a putback and two free throws by Oladipo and an alley-oop layup from McIver to Keller gave the Eagles an eight-point lead, 44-36.
A basket and a free throw by Uini made it a five-point game, 44-39, with 2:50 left in the quarter.
Baskets by Jones and Keller for Ellison and a pair of driving baskets by Smith for Cove made it 48-43 before a basket by Ellison’s Wilkerson, along with a free throw by Sanchez and a tip-back from about 10 feet by Triplett ended the third-quarter scoring for the 50-46 scoring heading into the decisive fourth quarter.
The Bulldawgs (13-10, 1-1 in District 12-6A) schedule doesn’t get much easier as tonight they travel to the four-loss Tigers looking to avenge Tuesday’s 50-47 loss to Temple before travelling to Bryan to take on the Vikings.
The Bulldawgs return home to host Shoemaker on Friday, Jan. 14.