Lady Dawgs can’t stop Gibbs, Lady Roos in 58-44 loss
By TJ MAXWELL
In a pivotal game in the chase for one of the four spots to make the playoffs, the Lady Dawgs couldn’t slow down junior Taleiyah Gibbs in the first half as she scored 20 of her team’s 33 points to take a commanding 33-17 lead into the locker room at the half time break.
Junior Tyanna Simpson, senior Asia Gibson, and freshman Arianna Jennings then helped close the door with strong second-half performances for the Lady Roos as Killeen defeated the Lady Dawgs 58-44 Friday night at Bulldawg Gymnasium. Killeen moves to 4-5 and one game behind Temple (5-4) in fourth place in District 12-6A play while Copperas Cove falls to sixth place at 3-6 in district action.
“It always happens that every team that plays against us has their best game,” said Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs head basketball coach Tiffney Barnes. “Killeen played really well against us the first time we ran into them and we were expecting the same thing.
“(Taleiyah Gibbs) is amazing. She can play inside and out. When you’re a six-foot guard, you can do anything. Our guards are tiny, so I was surprised she didn’t post us up a lot more than she did.”
It didn’t take long for the Lady Roos to take control contest as a three-pointer from beyond the arc by Gibbs started a 14-4 run for Killeen and a traditional three-point play by Gibbs closed the run. A pair of free throws by Jennings, a two-point basket by Gibbs and a putback by Simpson on a missed free throw accounted for the rest of the Killeen points in the run. Cove’s four points came from the free throw line by sophomore Taylor Wilson and a bast by junior Elianah Eady-Smith.
A basket by senior guard Diamonique Barnhart brought Cove within eight, 14-6, before a pair of free throws by Simpson, a steal for a layup by Jennings and a 12-foot jumper by Simpson made it a 20-6 Killeen advantage after one quarter.
A traditional three-point play by Eady-Smith and a steal for a layup by Wilson cut the Killeen lead to single digits, 20-11, but Killeen pushed their lead back to 11, 26-11 with a basket and a free throw by sophomore La’Niya Underwood and a three from deep by Gibbs.
A pair of free throws by senior Jordan McGhee slowed the Lady Roos briefly before a basket and another three-point play by Gibbs pushed Killeen’s lead to 18, 31-13, with just over a minute left in the half.
Two free throws by junior T’Shayla Marrie and a basket by Wilson made it a 31-17 before a diving flip by Gibbs made it a 33-17 Killeen lead at the half time break.
Two more quick baskets by Gibbs, along with a basket and pair of free throws by Wilson pushed the score to 37-21, before baskets by Jennings, Gibson, and Simpson helped Killeen take their largest lead of the game, 45-26, heading into the final quarter.
Six-consecutive points by Eady-Smith on a pair of free throws and two baskets helped the Lady Dawgs narrow the lead to 14, 45-31, but baskets by Simpson and Jennings pushed the Lady Roos’ lead back to 18, 49-31.
A pair of baskets by Cove freshman Chloe Tuiasosopo, one by Wilson, and a three-pointer by Marrie narrowed the lead to 10, 50-40.
Baskets by Eady-Smith and McGhee then cut the lead to single digits for the first time since early in the second quarter.
A basket by Gibson, along with free throws by Simpson and Jennings closed out the game for the 58-44 final score.
The Lady Dawgs outscored the Lady Roos 18-13 in the fourth quarter, but they were too deep of a whole to climb out.
“I wish we would have come out that strong in the first and second quarters,” said Barnes. “It would’ve made a difference.”
Gibbs finished with a game-high 24 points along with three rebounds and a block. Simpson added 16 points, seven rebounds and a block, followed by Jennings (9 pts, 5 rebs, 4 blks, 3 stls), Gibson (6 pts, 4 rebs) and Underwood (3 pts, 2 rebs).
Wilson led the Lady Dawgs with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals. Eady-Smith added 11 points and five rebounds, followed by McGhee (6 pts, 4 rebs), Tuiasosopo (5 pts, 4 rebs, stl), Marrie (5 pts, 5 rebs, 2 stls), and Barnhart (2 pts, 2 rebs).
The Lady Roos were 19 for 32 from tw-point range, 2 for 8 from beyond the arc. They were 14 for 28 from the free throw line and had 21 team rebounds.
The Lady Dawgs were 14 for 33 from two-point range and 1 for 16 from beyond the arc. They were 11 for 17 from the free throw line and had 29 team rebounds.
The Lady Dawgs return to action tonight at home against the Temple TemCats for the second game of a three-game home stand while the Lady Roos host third-place Belton (6-3).
“We’ve just got to create an upset,” said Barnes. “We beat Temple the last time, so we’ve got to come in with that confidence that we can beat them again. It’s always hard to beat someone twice, but we’ve got to come in and do it.”
Bulldawgs to play in front of empty gym after last week’s brawl
The Copperas Cove Independent School District announced Monday morning that two Bulldawg basketball players involved in last week’s brawl during the basketball game between Copperas Cove Bulldawgs and No. 13 Harker Heights, have been suspended for the remainder of the season and four more were suspended for one game, last Friday’s loss to Killeen.
Killeen ISD also recently announced that two Harker Heights players were suspended for the remainder of the season and 11 more were suspended for Friday’s loss to Belton.
The Copperas Cove Police Department listed several students for both schools in recent police bulletins with a pair of Harker Heights basketball players listed as well as one Copperas Cove basketball play, two more Cove athletes in other sports and a graduate.
For more information on the arrests, read Lynette Sowell’s article on page 2.
The Bulldawgs’ three remaining home games will be limited to just players, coaches, media (to include radio), announcers and table workers while the senior night home game against Killeen in the season finale will allow four adults per player but they’ll have to be on the door list, according to the “Voice of the Bulldawgs”, Joe Lombardi.