Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs stay in playoff chase with big win over Shoemaker Lady Wolves, 77-36
By TJ MAXWELL
After losing three of their last four district contest, the Lady Dawgs needed to find their groove and they did that Tuesday night in a blowout win over the Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves at home to pull within a half game of the fourth and final playoff spot currently belonging to Temple.
The Lady Dawgs outscored the Lady Wolves 22-2 in the opening quarter and never looked back in their 77-36 win in front of their home crown at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
“It was refreshing to see our team come out and play like they know how to play,” said Copperas Cove girls’ head basketball coach Tiffney Barnes-Graham. “I love to see our kids come out and play like their supposed to play.
“This whole week is huge. Tonight’s game was a big win and Friday’s game is a big game for us. We’ve got come out and play all four quarters. We can’t take any quarters for granted. We’ve got to play.”
The Lady Dawgs hit five of their nine three-pointers in the first period to help build the 20-point advantage before senior post Kaysha McCloud took control of the game with eight of her game-high 22 points coming in the second quarter as the Lady Dawgs increased their lead to 30 points by the halftime break, 42-12.
A pair of missed free throws by junior AZ Knotts looked to be an ominous start for the Lady Dawgs, but an offensive rebound and three-pointer by senior Leah Powell kickstarted a 26-2 Cove run to open the contest.
Senior Deja Chapman got in on the fun with a second-consecutive three-pointer for the Lady Dawgs to open the first quarter.
A basket by Shoemaker junior Mikaila Parker at the 4:19 mark temporarily paused the Cove run before seniors Livonna Wallace and MJ Honea hit another set of back-to-back three pointers to push Cove’s lead to 13, 15-2 with 2:04 left in the quarter. A basket by Powell, a basket and a free throw by McCloud, a basket by Honea and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by senior Keana Garrett closed out the first-quarter scoring.
A pair of free throws by senior Tiana Barker and a basket by junior Micah Anderson pushed Cove’s lead to 24, 26-2, before Shoemaker junior Novotny Smith scored just the second basket of the contest for the Lady Grey Wolves.
Another three-pointer by Wallace made it a 29-4 Cove lead before a pair of trips to the charity stripe by Smith resulted in 3 for 4 free throws and a 29-7 score.
The Lady Dawgs embarked on another run to build their biggest lead of the half of 32 points at 39-7. A pair of free throws by Garrett started the 10-0 run before eight-consecutive points by McCloud on two field goals and 4 for 4 free throws.
A pair of baskets by Shoemaker senior Jazmine Banner sandwiched a driving basket by Knotts for a 41-11 contest.
A free throw by Cove’s Garrett and a pair of free throws by Shoemaker senior Trinity Smith closed out the half for a 42-12 score.
The Lady Dawgs continued to grow their lead in the third quarter with a 10-3 run to open the second half. A basket by McCloud made it a 44-12 game before a three-pointer by Novotny Smith made it 44-15. A basket by Honea and consecutive three-pointers by Chapman and Honea opened a 37-point lead for Cove, 52-15.
A basket by Trinity Smith slowed the Cove run, but baskets by McCloud and junior Jasmine Sankey made it a 39-point advantage for the Lady Dawgs.
The Lady Wolves closed out the third quarter on an 8-3 run, including consecutive baskets by Banner and a traditional three-point play by Novotny Smith for a 59-24 score heading into the final frame. The ninth three-pointer of the game, this one by Jaaliyah Segrest, closed out Cove’s scoring in the quarter.
After a basket by Cove’s Powell and one each from Shoemaker senior Meagan Giltug and Banner pushed the score to 61-28, the Lady Dawgs embarked on a 10-2 run to open their largest lead of the contest at 41 points, 71-30. Consecutive baskets by McCloud along with 4 for 6 free throws by McCloud and Barker and a basket by Barker accounted for the Cove scoring.
Free throws by Shoemaker’s Banner and Trinity Smith along with a basket and free throw by Cove’s Sankey pushed the score to 74-34.
Segrest finished the Cove scoring with 3 for 4 free throws and a basket by Trinity Smith closed the scoring for Shoemaker for the 77-36 final score.
The Lady Dawgs shots season highs n field goal percentage at 51 percent and 64 percent from the three-point line on 9 for 14 shooting.
“We have been playing timid lately so we talked to them and let them know we can’t play timid,” said Barnes-Graham. “We don’t have that room to play timid anymore. Every time we’re afraid to fail, that’s a mistake we’re afraid to make and we’ve got to learn from it.”
McCloud added eight rebounds and two assists to her game-high 22 points. Honea added 10 points, four assists and three rebounds. Wallace and Powell added seven points each followed by Chapman (6 pts, 3 assists), Garrett (6 pts, 4 rebs, 2 assts, 2 stls), Segrest (6 pts, stl), Sankey (5 pts, 5 rebs), Barker (4 pts), Anderson (2 pts), and Knotts (2 pts, 2 assts, 2 rebs).
Novotny Smith and Banner led the Lady Grey Wolves with 12 points each followed by Trinity Smith (9), Giltug (2), and Parker (2).
The Lady Dawgs (3-4 in District 12-6A) look to pull the fourth-place spot with a win at Temple (4-3) tonight.
“We just have to come to play all four quarters,” said Barnes-Graham. “Temple is a great team. They are aggressive and fast, so we just have to play our game.”