Lady Dawgs go undefeated in host tourney

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs improved their season record to 7-0 with an undefeated run in their host tournament, capped by Saturday’s 79-60 win over the Fort Worth Trimble Tech Lady Dogs.
The Lady Dawgs struggled to find their rhythm early against Trimble Tech but finished strong to complete their tourney run with a 5-0 record.
“They were big, and they gave us some trouble, but the girls kept fighting,” said Copperas Cove girls’ head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams. “I think they did a great job of fighting. When we stuck to our game plan, that’s when we were able to see that lead grow.”
Current and former district foes, Belton and San Angelo Central, respectively, also ran their tournament records to 4-0 in the first two days of action. The three-way tie resulted in the Lady Tigers and Lady Cats playing in the first-place game and the Lady Dawgs facing the Trimble Tech Lady Dogs in the third-place game. 
“We could have played in the championship game, but I didn’t want to play Belton,” said McAdams. “We all tied for the first-place spot and when we broke it down, I didn’t want to play Belton. Also, with Belton and Central being visitors, they did us a favor by coming to the tournament so let them shoot it out.
“It’s not about the championship or what place we get. It’s about getting in the five games that we got in. I’m happy with the five game and the five wins.”
Trailing 40-36 at the halftime break, Cove quickly overcame the deficit with a three-pointer and a putback by junior Madisen “MJ” Honea, along with a driving floater by Madison Griffon for the 43-40 lead.
A putback by Trimble Tech’s Rylan Rogers pulled the Lady Dogs back within a point, 43-42, before Copperas Cove exploded on a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 55-47 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. Junior Leah Powell scored seven of the 12 Cove points in the run. A three-pointer by Griffon and a driving basket by Honea capped the scoring in the run.
A traditional three-point play by Trimble Tech’s Davisia Potter and a pair of free throws by Amyah Johnson pulled Trimble Tech back within two scores but a driving bucket at the buzzer by Cove’s Chyla Johnson gave the Lady Dawgs a 58-52 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Buckets by Trimble Tech’s Johnson and Bre’auna Smith cut the Cove lead back to three, but the Lady Dawgs closed on a 19-3 run to close the contest, 79-60.
A putback by junior Kaysha McCloud kicked off the run and a layup by McCloud closed the contest. McCloud scored 10 of her 12 points during the run. Powell and Deja Chapman also scored for Cove in the run.
Powell had 16 points and six rebounds to lead the Lady Dawgs’ effort. Four other Cove players scored in double-digits as well. Honea had 15 points, along with five assists and four rebounds. Griffon scored 14 points and added five more assists and a pair of boards. McCloud added 12 points and six rebounds and Jayda Carter had 11 points, seven steals and six boards.
“Madison Griffon has been hurt,” said McAdams. “She tweaked her knee on Thursday didn’t play none yesterday and she was sore today, but we wanted to give it a try. She’s so competitive.
“We are young. We have seven coming back, but we only have three seniors out of the 11 that we had. We’re young as far as playing experience, but yesterday I saw growth with (Griffon) being out. Some of those girls had to play and that’s what we need because there are going to be times where teams try to take her away or if something else happens where she’s not playing.”
Johnson led Trimble Tech with 16 points while Dabresha Lamb added 12 points and Smith finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Dawgs fought off an early lead by the Lady Dogs to take their first lead of the contest on a pair of coast-to-coast drives Powell to close the first quarter.
Trimble Tech responded with an 11-3 run to open the second quarter to retake the lead, 28-23. Johnson had six points and Smith added five points in the Trimble Tech run.
A three-pointer by Griffon with 1:15 remaining, cut the Trimble Tech lead to two, 38-36, before a basket by Lamb closed the half with Trimble Tech ahead 40-36.
The Lady Dawgs opened the tournament on Thursday with a 68-61 win over Manor before beating Leander Rouse 62-46 to close out day one.
The Lady Dawgs opened day two with a 49-35 win over San Antonio Stephens before concluding pool play with a 64-43 win over Del Valle.
Honea, Powell and McCloud were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
McAdams knows what he gets from his three seniors but likes what he’s seeing from the rest of his young team as well.
“Kaysha McCloud has been working hard,” said McAdams. “I told coach the other day that ‘I’m glad she’s on my team.’ Having Leah back and AZ Knotts and Deja and all of them came in and gave us some good minutes and that’s what we need.
“The main thing is getting the games but then you come out and win. Our trophy says third place but, at the same time, I feel like we won. That’s a good feeling when you come out and do that.”
The Lady Dawgs get back to action on Thursday in the Marble Falls Tournament at Marble Falls High School.

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