Bulldawgs win shootout over Pirates 80-77
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs boys’ basketball team gave fans an exciting come from behind victory Friday night in their 2020 home opener against the Class 4A LaVega Pirates Friday night at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
After falling behind by their largest margin of the contest when LaVega junior Randy Woolf connected on his fifth three-pointer of the contest to give the Pirates a 62-54 lead to open the fourth quarter, the Bulldawgs outscored the Pirates 26-15 to close the contest with the 80-77 win.
“It was a good job on our guys for having some resiliency and fighting back through it,” Copperas Cove head boys’ basketball coach Travis Boyce Jr said after the win. “We got down a decent amount in that fourth quarter and, for our guys to fight the way they fought, I was definitely proud of what they were able to do tonight.
“I see some good things with our team. We have a little bit of everything – scoring, defense, athletes, and rebounders. That’s something you’ve got to have to be successful in our district.”
A pair of trips to the free throw line by junior De’Quan Seda on and “and 1” opportunity started the Cove run before a basket by senior Jon McDowell and 4 for 4 free throws by senior Alonnie Carter helped the Dawgs narrow the lead to five, 68-63 with 4:19 left in the game.
A basket by LaVega’s Stephon Nickerson pushed the Pirates back up by seven before Cove answered with two more carter free throws and one each from McDowell and sophomore Henry Sanchez.
The Pirates responded with the same 4 for 6 free throws by Woolf and senior Marcus Willis to regain their seven-point advantage.
Carter then connected from the field to start another Cove run to close the contest with a 15-5 scoring advantage. A free throw by junior Marcel Anderson and another Carter basket cut the LaVega lead to just four, 74-70, with 1:03 left before two fouls and two technical foul against the Pirates resulted in 8 for 8 free throws by Sanchez and Carter to flip the lead to Cove 78-44.
The sixth Woolf three-pointer of the contest pulled the Pirates back within a point, 78-77 with 13.6 seconds left before 2 for 2 trip to the charity stripe by Cove sophomore Warren Fleming closed out the contest.
Carter and Henry led the Bulldawgs with 26 points each while McDowell added a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bulldawgs. Seda added nine points and four rebounds, Anderson added five points and Fleming had the two closeout free throws.
The Bulldawgs took control early four three-pointers and a traditional three-point play by Carter and Sanchez leading the way to a 23-14 first quarter. Sanchez led the Dawgs’ scoring with 11 points followed by Carter’s eight. Seven points by LaVega junior Corey Davis led the Pirates’ scoring.
The Pirates answered by outscoring the Buldawgs 24-15 in the second quarter to take a 40-38 lead into the break. Woolf’s 10 points and six points each from Davis and senior Lamarion Williams led the way with a combined five three-pointers. Six points from Sanchez and four from Carter led the way for Cove in the period.
The Pirates extended their lead to five at the end of three quarters, 59-54.
A traditional three-point play by Seda and a basket helped the Bulldawgs take back the lead with 4:38 left in the third, but 12 unanswered points gave the Pirates a 56-47 lead with 2:17 left.
A basket by Sanchez and another traditional three-point play be Seda brought Cove back within four, 56-52, before a three by Woolf and a basket by Cove’s McDowell closed out the quarter.
The Bulldawgs improved to 3-2 with the win and will close out their non-district slate against former district rivals Waco tonight before opening District 12-6A play Friday night in Temple.
“Getting the rest of the guys in the groove in the main thing,” Boyce said about the team’s final non-district action before district. “With Covid and getting the football guys as late as we did, getting the chemistry right and getting the football guys in the groove is the main thing before we start on Friday.
“We had five of our games cancelled due to Covid, with our game tomorrow being one of those. It’s a weird year. It’s one of those years where you have to make sure your kids are prepared, and we have to be able to adjust. Things are going to happen that we can’t control.
“Some of our football guys just came over. It was their first day and a lot of them still have their football legs. We hope those guys will get up to speed pretty quick where we can be a strong as we need to be for our district opponents.”