Lady Dawgs close out pre-district slate with win over Marble Falls
By TJ MAXWELL
MARBLE FALLS – After going 4-1 and winning the Gold bracket title in the Hill Country Classic Tournament over the weekend, the Lady Dawgs returned to the scene of their most recent success for a rematch with tournament host Marble Falls Tuesday afternoon.
Leading 43-31 early in the fourth quarter after a basket by junior Micah Anderson and a driving score by senior Madisen Honea, the Lady Dawgs quickly found themselves in a battle when a 10-2 Lady Mustangs’ run narrowed the lead to just four, 45-41, with 4:08 left in the game.
Strong plays by Cove senior post Kaysha McCloud on both ends of the court helped fend off the Marble Falls rally and clutch free throws by Honea clinched the 51-45 win.
Copperas Cove girls head basketball coach Tiffney Barnes-Graham likes most of what she’s seen from her team through this 14-game stretch in as many days to start the season, including 10 games in 10 days.
“Playing 10 games in two weeks is a lot so a lot of that is fatigue,” she said of some recent late rallies by opponents. “With those types of games, we have to stay mentally strong and finish.”
She knows there Is a tough District 12-6A slate looming starting Dec 3 at Belton and her team is still finding their way.
“We have no choice but to be ready,” she said. “We still have some kinks to figure out. We’re still a little undisciplined. We’re trying to get on the same page and just play smarter not harder.”
A slow start had the Lady Dawgs in a 5-0 hole to start the contest before a basket by McCloud on the assist by Hone and a three-pointer by Honea kickstarted a 20-7 run spanning the next eight minutes of game action for a 20-12 Cove lead mid-way through the second quarter.
A steal and layup by McCloud broke the 5-5 tie with 3:35 left in the first quarter before a steal by Honea and layup by senior Livonna Wallace, followed by another Honea three made it a 14-5 contest.
A three-pointer by freshman Alyssa Berkman and 3 for 6 free throws by senior Daijah Torns and senior Rylie Ulbricht closed out the period with Cove holding a 14-11 edge.
After 1 for 2 free throws by Cove senior Leah Powell and two more missed free throws by Torns to start the second frame, a three-pointer and 1 for 2 free throws by Honea pushed Cove’s lead to 18-11.
More struggles from the free throw line, this time by Marble Falls sophomore Gia Lemon, and 2 for 4 free throws by Cove sophomore Jordan McGhee put the Lady Dawgs up 20-12.
A pair of baskets by Ulbricht, one by freshman Avie Nail and a scoop for a score by Berkman made it a four-point Cove lead, 24-20, at the halftime break.
The Lady Dawgs took back control of the game with an 8-0 run to open the third quarter. An assist by Honea for a McCloud basket started the scoring before a putback by senior Keanna Garrett and an assist from Garrett to junior post Jasmine Sankey made it 30-20 and a steal for a layup by Honea closed the run.
A basket by Ulbricht pulled Marble Falls back within 10 before the fourth three-pointer by Honea gave Cove their largest lead of the night, 35-22.
A traditional three-point play and ones from beyond the arc by Ulbricht and Berkman quickly cut the Cove lead to just six, 37-31, with 2:15 left in the third.
A basket by Anderson on the assist from Honea closed out the third quarter with a 40-31 score.
After Cove opened the fourth quarter with the baskets by Anderson and Honea that pushed the lead back to 12, an 8-0 Lady Mustangs’ run made it a four-point game again. A free throw and three by Ulbricht, two free throws by Berkman and a basket by Torns accounted for the run.
A basket by Cove’s McCloud and a pair of free throws by Berkman pushed the score to 45-41 before the plays by McCloud and Honea closed the win for Cove.
Honea led all scorers with 22 points, including four three-pointers and a perfect 6 for 6 free throws. She also had a game-high six steals, four assists and four rebounds. McCloud finished with 12 points, three rebounds and five steals, including the one that led to a her third rebound for a putback gave Cove a 47-41 lead with 1:53 left in the game.
Nine total Lady Dawgs score in the contest.
Ulbricht led the Lady Mustangs with 17 points, including 12 in the second half, while Berkman added 12 points.
The Lady Dawgs will enjoy their Thanksgiving break before kicking of District 12-6A action next Tuesday at Belton with a varsity tip-off time of about 7 p.m.