Johnsons, three-pointers too much as Tigers down Dawgs 82-67
By TJ MAXWELL
After making a second quarter run to tie the game at 37-37 entering the halftime break, the Bulldawgs couldn’t slow down the high-scoring Tigers who connected on four of their 13 three-pointers of the contest in the third quarter as they opened up a 67-51 lead heading into the final frame of Copperas Cove’s home District 12-6A contest against Belton Tuesday night at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
Some late baskets by seniors A’lonnie Carter and Dequan Seda narrowed the Tigers’ lead to 11 points, 78-67, with just over two minutes remaining, but that is as close the Bulldawgs’ would get in the 82-67 loss.
“Those guys can shoot,” Copperas Cove head basketball coach Travis Boyce Jr. said about the Tigers after the loss. “They’re putting up about 70 or 80 most nights. We knew coming in we would have to try our best to clamp down on those shooters, but they’ve got some really good players and it’s harder getting it done that just saying it.
Hats off to those guys. They came in here and played their game and, obviously, it worked out in their favor tonight.”
The Tigers got their first three points of the third quarter from the free throw line after senior Ben Jones was fouled attempting a three-pointer.
A basket and a pair of free throws by Belton junior TJ Johnson was answered by a pair of baskets by Cove senior Isaiah Chisolm for a 44-41 Belton lead.
Jones then connected on three points from beyond the arc before Cove sophomore Warren Fleming answered with a traditional three-point play with the bucket and the foul.
A missed ‘and one’ opportunity by TJ Johnson and 3 for 4 free throws by senior Kayden Downs for Belton, along with a basket by A’lonnie Carter and two free throws by senior Tyrese Carter pushed the score to 52-48 before consecutive three-pointers by TJ Johnson and Jones opened up a 10-point Belton advantage, 58-48.
Cove answered with a three-pointer by A’lonnie Carter to cut the lead back to single digits before Belton went on an 11-0 run to close the third quarter and open the fourth and an 18-point lead, 69-51. Free throws by TJ Johnson and junior Trent West along with a field goal and three-pointer by Downs accounted for the Tigers’ scoring.
The Bulldawgs answered with 3 for 4 free throws by Fleming and a three-pointer by sophomore Henry Sanchez to make it a 12-point contest 69-57 with 5:38 left.
After baskets by both teams, the Tigers again connected on consecutive three-pointers to explode their lead to 19, 78-59, before eight unanswered points by Cove, including six-consecutive points by Seda, brought Cove back within 11, 78-67.
A basket by freshman Trap Johnson and two free throws by senior Luke Bramlett closed out the scoring for the 82-67 final score.
TJ Johnson scored a game-high 24 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Tigers while Jones added 20 points and Trap Johnson connected on 6 for 8 three-pointers as part of his 20-point night. Downs also scored double-digits with 11 points.
Fleming led the Dawgs in scoring with 18 points, two assists and a steal, followed by A’lonnie Carter (17 points, 3 steals), Seda (14 points) and Sean Anderson (7 points).
The Tigers jumped on top of the Bulldawgs early with a three-pointer by Jones and the first of six three-pointers by Trap Johnson, along with free throws by TJ Johnson and Jones that gave the Tigers a 10-2 lead to open the contest.
Anderson connected on a three while A’lonnie Carter hit two free throws and Seda connected on a field goal to make it a three-point game, 10-7.
Three-pointers by TJ Johnson and Downs for Belton while baskets by Seda and A’lonnie Carter for Cove pushed the score 16-13 before a free throw by Belton’s Bramlett and a putback by Cove’s Fleming made it a 17-15 Belton lead after one quarter.
A steal for a layup by Sanchez tied the game at 17-all to open the second quarter.
A three-pointer by Trap Johnson and a basket by Jones helped the Tigers retake the lead 22-19 before baskets by Anderson, senior Tyrez Reynolds and A’lonnie Carter put the Bulldawgs on top for the first time in the contest, 25-22, with 5:13 left in the half.
A steal for a layup by and a three-pointer by Fleming helped Cove grow their lead to six, 30-24, before two treys by Trap Johnson and a basket by TJ Johnson for Belton and another Fleming three-pointer made it a 33-32 Cove lead.
Baskets by Belton’s Jones and Cove’s Seda flip-flopped the lead for a 35-34 Cove lead.
The fourth trey of the second quarter by Trap Johnson gave Belton a 37-35 lead before a steal and basket by Cove’s Anderson knotted the game at 37-all at the halftime break.
The Bulldawgs were without their senior leader and leading rebounder Jon McDowell in the contest and it hurt them in the paint.
“(Jon) was definitely a big piece missing I like to call him the heart of the team and he’s one of my hardest workers,” said Boyce. “Not having him tonight definitely showed in a lot of spurts, but Belton played a great game.”
The Bulldawgs (5-5, 1-2 in District 12-6A) return to action tonight with another tough test as they host the Bryan Vikings (12-2, 2-1) while the Tigers (12-2, 3-0) will face their toughest test when they host the no. 9 ranked Ellison Eagles (15-1, 2-1) coming off of their first loss of the season in a 41-35 loss to Harker Heights on Tuesday.
“We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and get ready for our next game,” said Boyce. “We’ve got a really tight district. It’s one of those deals where the team that wants it the most that night is going to win. We have a few teams I think are a little more dominant than others, but I feel like it’s a wide-open contest for everybody this year, so you have to come ready every day.”
Lady Dawgs earn first district win
The Lady Dawgs traveled to Belton Tuesday night to face the Lady Tigers.
The Lady Dawgs held a 7-4 lead after a low-scoring first quarter.
The Lady Dawgs then shutout the Lady Tigers in the second quarter while scoring 11 points of their own for an 18-4 lead at the halftime break.
The Lady Tigers began to find a rhythm offensively as they scored 11 points in the third, but the Lady Dawgs added 16 points of their own to extend their lead to 19, 34-15, entering the final frame.
The Lady Tigers would outscore the Lady Dawgs 11-8 in the final period but were too far behind in the 42-26 loss.
AZ Knotts led with 16 points and five rebounds followed by Ta’Shayla Marrie (5 pts, 1 asst) Kyra Gaston (5 pts, 5 rebs), Jasmine Sankey (4 pts, 3 steals) Khia Horton (3 pts, 2 assts, & 3 stls), Micah Anderson (3 pts, 3 stls) Alaura Gallups (3 pts, 3 rebs), Danielle McGriff (2 pts, 2 assts), Samaria Bostic (2 pts, 4 rebs), and Jade Chapman (2 pts, 3 rebs).
The Lady Dawgs (6-11, 1-4 in 12-6A) return to district action this Friday at Bryan.