Fri, 2015-11-20 14:13 News Staff
Cove earns head coach 100th win in season opener
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs displayed a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense in their 63-47 win over Austin Akins that gave head coach Bill White Jr. his 100th win and a 1-0 record to begin their 2015-16 campaign.
The Dawgs led by as much as 25 points in the fourth before the Akins Eagles were able to cut the lead to 16 as time expired.
“I was really impressed with what I saw,” said White. “I saw the kids do a lot of the things we’ve been working on in practice. It’s always great when they can go out here and relay that over to the game. Of course, it’s the first game so we have tons of stuff that we still need to work on.”
After Akins cut the lead to five mid-way through the second quarter, the Dawgs outscored the Eagles 21-11 over the next 14 minutes of action to open up a 45-25-point lead with just over six minutes left in regulation.
Senior Malyk Thomas scored eight of his game-high 17 points as part of an 13-2 run to end the third and begin the fourth quarter.
“I felt good,” Thomas said about his play. “I just tried to let the game come to me and tried not to force things.”
Thomas scored seven unanswered points to begin the fourth quarter and senior Devante Robinson got into the act with a bucket after a steal by junior Dahmir Pearson led to the fast break bucket by Robinson.
“In the fourth quarter, (Thomas) started getting to the bucket a lot so I kept going to him,” said Robinson. “They were fouling him and he was hitting free throws, getting rebounds and just making big plays for us.”
Robinson also notched double-digits with 11 points to go with Thomas’ 17. He also had a game-high five assists.
“He starts everything for our team,” Thomas said about his point guard. “If he’s not having a good game, the team is usually dead and it’s hard for us to pick it up because everything runs through him.”
White is glad to have both guys leading his squad.
“Those two guys (Thomas and Robinson) are great players and they’ve been really great leaders,” said White. “They’ve been doing a lot of great things, not just on the court, but off the court in the locker room and the whole nine. They are guys we expect a lot from this year and they came out and showed that tonight.”
Robinson had a little extra fuel in his tank for this game. He wanted to give Coach White his 100th win while propelling his team forward.
“It feels good to give him an achievement of his own but also contribute to the program,” said Robinson. “They told us about it before and this game was dedicated to him so he could get his 100th win.”
“It feels real good,” he said. “It’s special.”
The Dawgs came out firing to begin the game with 19 points from six different players to take a 19-13 lead after eight minutes of action.
“I really liked the intensity we came out with today,” said Robinson. “We do a lot of the little things better this year such as boxing out, running the wing and we’re passing the ball a lot more. We score a lot from everybody. It’s all spread out. I feel like it’s a good start to the season from us.”
That balanced scoring is a welcome attribute after losing all-state forward and leading-scorer Rashard Odomes to graduation.
“It was a huge loss but I knew from the start of last year how hard we were going to work in the offseason and that we would have people step and score as well,” said Robinson.
Cove had 10 different players notch points and nine different players snag rebounds in the contest.
“That’s the special thing about this group,” said White. “We don’t have that flashy, star player like having Rashard, which was great having him, but we have a few guys that can fill those shoes by committee. It’s a fun group to coach. They work hard and do the things we need them to do.”
Sophomore Tyrese Cooley added nine points off the bench while freshman Quinton Ford added eight followed by senior Antonio McCrea (6), junior Jordan Govan (4), and two each from Pearson, senior Wyatt Behara, sophomore Justus Honea and sophomore Jyhlil Rice. Thomas and Pearson also led in rebounds with six each.
The Dawgs were 8 for 13 from the free throw line, led by Thomas’ 6 for 9.
Brasjion Simpson led the Eagles’ scoring with 15 points while junior Michael Bailey corralled a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Eagles were 8 for 12 from the charity stripe.
The Dawgs travel to the great Austin area to take on Cedar Park tonight at 7:30 p.m. and return home to face Lake Travis on Monday with a 1 p.m. tip.
“We have to get better each game,” said White. “If we can defend and rebound and get better at those types of things like move when we need to move and rotate when we need to rotate, we’ll be fine. We just need to get better at each aspect of the game every night.”