Fri, 2017-01-27 05:00 News Staff
Cove senior captain Dahmir Pearson wills Bulldawgs to 72-62 win over San Angelo Central
By TJ MAXWELL
Things weren’t going to plan in the first half of the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ district contest against the San Angelo Central Bobcats Tuesday at home.
Cove’s Dahmir Person took the initiative to change that in the second half.
The senior captain had two steals and scored eight of the Bulldawg’s first 10 points of the third period to build an 11-point lead in just 2:27 of game time.
“We’ve been playing pretty bad over the last couple games, not playing with enough energy,” said Pearson. “I just wanted to be the person to bring out the energy in everybody and push the pace to help us get the win.”
After junior Jacob Carter hit a two to begin the quarter, Pearson battled his way to layup and 4 for 6 free throws to lead the Dawgs’ 9-0 run to start the second half.
Cove junior Jyhlil Rice also pilfered a steal and converted it on the offensive end in the run.
“They do those types of things all the time for us,” Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. said about his hustle-play leaders Pearson and Rice. “Those hustle plays and defensive plays are very valuable to our team.
“The good thing was when they made those plays, they were the ones to get out and contribute the baskets as well, which was great. They are normally the ones doing all the dirty work for us so it was nice to see them, not only do the dirty work, but getting the glory for it on the other end.”
Three consecutive three-point plays and plays in the paint helped Central finish the frame on a 13-2 run to force a 54-54 tie heading into the final period.
Isaiah Oliver connected on a three from beyond the arc before converting three the old-fashioned way on his next trip down the court for six of his nine points in the run and game-high 19.
Senior Luke Ramos also connected from downtown to cut the Cove lead to four and plays in the paint by 6-foot, 8-inch senior post Adam West and Oliver knotted the game on 2 for 2 free throws and a driving layup, respectively.
Four rebounds by Rice and junior Neyland block, a timely three-pointer and bucket in the paint by Carter allowed the Dawgs to edge back out front 59-54.
“Those are things we have to get done,” said White. We have to limit them to one shot, we have to make layups and we have to make free throws. When we’re not doing that, it’s going to be tough. Tonight, Dahmir and Jy speared us in the third quarter and allowed us to get out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter and Jacob Carter hit a big three for us.”
Two Cove possessions later, the Bobcats’ leading scorer, Isaiah Oliver fouled out with 3:40 left in the contest.
The ensuing 1 and 1 free throw by Block was missed but the shortest guy on the court, Cove junior Tyrese Cooley fought through the big bodies and came away with the rebound to keep the possession alive. Sophomore Quinton Ford then converted for a seven-point Cove advantage.
“That was huge,” White said of the Cooley play. “He’s one of those Jy Rice, Dahmir Pearson type players. They are very sneaky, crafty, hardworking players. That was a huge steal down there for us down there. We were up five at the time. That allowed us to keep the ball and work some more time off the clock and ended up scoring off that as well. That was huge taken it from five to seven because that’s a whole different ball game in that scenario.”
Cooley stepped in again with a deflection ahead to Ford for another bucket and nine-point advantage with just over two minutes remaining.
A pair of free throws by Ramos and a bucket by West pulled to Bobcats within seven, 65-58 with 1:32 remaining but clutch free throws by senior Jordan Govan secured the win for Cove. He converted 5 for 6 from the charity stripe as part of a 7-4 run to close out the contest.
“At the end we were able to get a couple steals again and get some layups out of it and then Govan came in and hit the free throws,” said White. “That was a huge difference in this game, compared to the one there.
“We weren’t hitting on all cylinders, but the difference tonight was we were able to finish a few more layups than what we finished out there and make a few more free throws,” said White. “Govan came in and ended up making the free throws that we needed at the end. For a second there was the same kind of flow to the game where we were missing free throws, layups and giving up second- and third-chance opportunities.”
The Bulldawgs took a 23-18 lead after the first period despite giving up five three-pointers to the Bobcats in the period and another three-point play on the bucket and foul.
Seven different Dawgs scored in the fast-paced first period led by Rice’s six points and five more by junior Frank Alvarado.
Two threes by Oliver paced the Bobcats in the first period.
The Bobcats flipped the script on Cove in the second quarter behind a strong performance on the offensive glass that resulted in several second- and third-chance opportunities for the Bobcats.
Central (13-13, 1-7 in District 8-6A) outscored Cove 23-19 in the frame, including 10 for 11 from the charity stripe, to make it a one-point Cove advantage at the break, 42-41.
Carter finished with a team-high 15 points to lead the Dawgs, including the five points that broke a 54-all tie and spurred the fourth-quarter run.
“I knew it was a close game so I just tried to get separated quickly,” said Carter. “That’s what we always say in the locker room, ‘If we’re ever in a close situation to come out first and gets some points then we can go on a roll and get momentum.’”
Carter admits, however, that a well-balanced offensive attack helped with his big night. Four different Cove players scored at least 12 points in the contest.
“Usually a defense tries to pinpoint one shooter but they can’t pinpoint one because we are all pretty good shooters and that spreads them out,” said Carter.
He also knows it all begins on the defensive end with their energy leader, Pearson.
“He just energizes us as a captain and a senior,” said Carter. “He really picks us up through that defensive energy and it just gets us going as underclassmen.
“Defense wins games. We can shoot good at every game but if we are not on the defensive boards and getting steals, we’re not going to win it. It has to start on defense.”
Pearson echoed those sentiments.
“It’s very valuable,” he said of his teams’ defensive presence. “My coaches tell me every time I play to use the defense to get my offense going. That’s how we try to carry our whole team. We just try to lock in on defense to get out and run the offense.”
Pearson added a gamehigh eight rebounds and four steals to his 14-point performance while Ford contributed 14 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals. Rice added 12 points, seven boards and two steals to the Cove tally.
Ramos added 12 points to Oliver’s game-high 19 and Hunter Gibbs chipped in 10 points.
The Bulldawgs (17-10, 5-3) are back in action tonight on the road against no. 22 Ellison (20-6, 6-2).
“It’s always a big one,” White said of the clash with Ellison. “It’s definitely going to be a battle. We’re going to their place after beating them here the first round and they’re going to be ready. They’re going to be looking for revenge but we’ve got to make sure that we’re locked in and focused and take care of business. We’ve been in hostile environments before, we just need to do what we’re capable of doing.”
“We’ve just got to come out and embrace the moment,” said Pearson. “We’re playing against a team that’s good and we’re good. We know we can play them because we beat them before so it’s just having that same mindset we had in the first game.”
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