Dawgs basketball sweeps Belton, first time in four years
By Clay Whittington
The Bulldawgs found themselves in a tight situation Tuesday at Belton, but when it mattered most, they delivered.
Senior guard Henry Sanchez finished with a game-high 29 points, including the game-winning bucket as time was expiring to lift Copperas Cove to a 57-55 victory.
Following the contest, Bulldawgs head coach Travis Boyce Jr. admitted his team performed under pressure.
“We played with poise in the end,” he said. “Our guys were much more poised at the end than we have been recently. Belton did everything it needed to do on its end, but our guys were just a little more poised.
“We made a couple shots that haven’t been falling for us, and some of our players coming over from the football team and rounding into basketball shape for us now.”
The Tigers tied the game 55-55 with 33.5 seconds remaining in regulation, setting the stage for Sanchez to connect on a floater in the paint to secure the outcome.
Despite the result, Copperas Cove (10-7) did not produce a strong start, though.
After Sanchez recorded the game’s opening basket, Belton embarked on a 14-1 run to take control, but it would not last. Sanchez score 11 points in the period, connecting on all three of his 3-point attempts, as the Bulldawgs rallied to take a 16-14 lead into the second quarter.
The Tigers used a last-second layup to reclaim a 31-29 advantage by halftime, but the Bulldawgs outscored Belton 15-9 in the third quarter and never trailed again.
“Sometimes I let my guys try to play through some stuff,” Boyce said, “and I need to take the hits for not calling a timeout. As a coach, I needed to improve on that and make sure to help stop runs before they get going and we are in too deep of a hole.
“We like to be comeback kids, but they reacted today.”
Along with Sanchez’s output, which included four rebounds and three assists, sophomore guard Jordan Payne had eight points for the Bulldawgs, while teammate Bryce Smith, a junior, finished with six points and three assists. Additionally, Michael Uini had five points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Now, Copperas Cove will look to build on the momentum Friday, when they host Lago Vista in their final contest before the holiday break. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
“We’ve been in a couple of tight ballgames recently,” Boyce said, “and that allows the team to grow. I would prefer to have blowouts in our favor, but we need these types of games to help the kids grow and help me grow as a coach.”