The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs celebrate their 69-57 win over Garland Lakeview Centennial Wednesday at Tiger Gymnasium in Glen Rose.The Bulldawgs face Richardson Berkner in the Area round at 7:30 tonight at McLennan Community College’s Highlander gymnasium.

Hoop History

Cove knocks off 11-6A champs to advance to Area Round for first playoff win



It was a long time coming for the Copperas Cove Bulldawg basketball team. After a five-year absence from the playoffs, the Bulldawgs have strung together three straight postseason appearances but no playoff wins – until now. “It feels great,” said Copperas Cove head basketball coach Billy White Jr. “The kids worked hard and the coaches worked hard. It is good to finally have a playoff win and it feels great.” Cove senior and Oklahoma signee Rashard Odomes scored 34 points and wrangled 17 rebounds to lead his team to the programs’ first-ever playoff victory over Garland Lakeview Centennial on Wednesday. “It feels real good,” Odomes said about his team’s accomplishment. “Coach White let us know what was on the line before the game knowing that Cove had never won a playoff game before so we just wanted to make history. All the seniors talked about it - knowing that, if we want to play one more game, we’ve got to play hard. This might be our last game.” That they did. The Dawgs held off Lakeview Centennial runs in the second and fourth quarters to preserve their history-making win, 69-57. The Bulldawgs win over Lakeview Centennial made it a District 12-6A first round sweep. After 12-6A champs Ellison downed Tyler Lee on Tuesday, Harker Heights, Shoemaker and Cove completed the sweep Wednesday with wins over Rowlett, Garland and Lakeview Centennial, respectively. Odomes scored nine points and hauled down six rebounds during a 15-0 run enroute to a 19-6 lead against the 11-6A champions after one quarter of playoff action. “I was really feeling it in warm-ups, getting a good sweat in and running,” Odomes said. “I was just feeling it. It really transferred over to the game from warm-ups.” White knows his team lives and dies by his leader. “Rashard is a special player,” said White. When he plays with a lot of fire and passion like he played with today, the team is going to play with a lot of fire and passion. He understands that and he also understands that if we’re on the losing end, his high school career is over.” The Dawgs (20-13) continued that early dominance with three straight buckets that pushed their to 28-6 to begin the second period. Lakeview Centennial responded with nine-consecutive points as part of a 21-8 run to end the first half trailing by just five, 34-29 – including a longrange buzzer-beater by Barrington Hunter to close out the half. “They hit some shots on us and had some opportunities to get some offensive rebounds,” said White. “When that happens, like it always does with us, they either scored or we foul them and that’s what happened.” Cove reestablished their double-digit lead with five-straight points to begin the second half and answered every attempt by Centennial to cut into that lead. A three-pointer each by Markel Johnson and Nick Rene helped pull the Patriots within six, 49-43. A bucket by Cove junior Malyk Thomas and a free throw by junior Devante Robinson pushed Cove’s lead back to nine 52-43 to end the third frame. The Patriots (23-10) sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a Cove turnover on the pressure defense to get the closest they would get all night at 52-49 with 6:52 left to play. Like in the second and third quarters, the Bulldawgs were able to break past the full-court press employed by the Patriots to close out the game on a 17-8 run. “That’s something we worked on all week,” said White. “It was just a matter of them settling down and not trying to force something that wasn’t there and just making the pass we talked about all week. When we did that, we were able get some layups and dunks out of it on the back end. When we didn’t do it, we turned the ball over and they went down and scored points off of us.” Robinson, point guard and spark plug for the Dawgs, knows the importance of the win. “It’s a big accomplishment for us,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been hoping for this whole year and what we’ve been working for a long time. We’re glad it paid off. We just wanted to win. We didn’t want the season to stop now.” Robinson, who scored seven of his 11 points in the second half, knows his play also determines the success of his squad. “It’s very important,” he said. “Coach White always tells me, ‘It’s Rashard’s team, but as long as you’re playing good, everybody else is playing good. I’ve been sick and coach told me, ‘Get better, because we’re going to need you tonight. I stayed home, rested and came out ready to play.” Elafayette Stone added eight points and five rebounds for Cove, followed by Chance Smith (6 pts), Malyk Thomas (6 pts) and Davonn Phelps (4). Markel Johnson led Lakeview Centennial with 17 points - including 5-for- 10 from three-point range. Hunter added 10 and Jared Lockhart had nine. The Dawgs look to continue their history-making year when they take on Richardson Berkner tonight at McLennan Community College’s Highland Gymnasium. Tip-off is tentatively set for 7:30 p.m. “I’m very superstitious like that where I don’t look ahead, but my assistants have already got film,” said White about his next opponent after the win. “We have a two-hour bus ride back so we’ll break it down and get ready to go.” No matter what team they see on film, coach White knows his squad can beat play with anyone if they’re on top of their game. “We understand what we are capable of doing,” he said. I know we’ve had 13 losses this year, but we feel we can play with anybody when we’re hitting on all cylinders.” When the Bulldawgs are up against the ropes is when they’re at their best and that should help them in the playoffs, says Robinson. “There’s something about this team,” he said. “When we’re backed into a corner, that’s when we really fight and you see how well we can play. It’s just our will and that we never want to give up.” 

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