Lady Dawgs hold off hot-shooting Lady Lions 51-40

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

It looked like a revenge blowout was on tap after the Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs opened with 11 unanswered points on their way to a 17-3 lead after one quarter of action against the Waco Lady Lions. However, 10 for 13 (76.9 percent) shooting from beyond the arc put the Lady Lions in striking distance in the fourth quarter of the Lady Dawgs’ 51-40 win Friday night at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
“Waco shot the ball well (in the second half),” said Copperas Cove girls’ head basketball coach Tiffney Barnes-Graham. “I think they had 21 points off of threes in the half and we came out flat in the third quarter. We’ve got to fix that.” 
The Lady Dawgs held a comfortable 27-13 lead heading into the halftime break, but three consecutive three-pointers by quickly pulled the Lady Lions within seven points, 29-22, before Cove senior Leah Powell responded with a three to push the Lady Dawgs’ lead back to double digits, 32-22, mid-way through the third period. 
Successful trips to the free throw line by sophomore Shay Cobb and freshman Faith Watson and the third three-pointer of the quarter by freshman Asharah Thidodeaux brought the Lady Lions within four points, 34-30, with 1:31 left in the third quarter. 
A pair of free throws by senior Kaysha McCloud and an assist from McCloud to senior MJ Honea pushed Cove’s lead back to eight, 38-30, entering the fourth quarter.
Waco again opened the period with a trey to cut the lead to five - this one by freshman Ivory Scott.
Offensive rebounds and putbacks by McCloud and senior Keana Garrett gave the Lady dawgs a nine-point cushion before another trey by Scott - her fourth of the game - made it a two-possession game, 42-36, heading down the stretch. 
A three-pointer from beyond the arc by Honea, a traditional three-point play by McCloud, a pair of free throws by Knotts and a free throw by junior Micah Anderson pushed Cove’s lead to 15 with 3:14 remaining. 
A free throw by senior Tag Cortez and a last-second three-pointer for the 10th of the contest by sophomore Ra’nia Carpenter closed the scoring for the Lady Lions. 
McCloud finished with a double-double She had game highs in points with 18 and rebounds with 11. She also had three assists. Honea (8 pts, 3 rebs, asst), Knotts (8 pts, 3 rebs, asst), Powell (8 pts, 4 rebs), Anderson (5 pts, reb, asst), and Garrett (4 pts, 4 rebs) rounding out Cove’s box score.
Scott led the Lady Lions with 14 points, followed by Thibodeaux (11), Cobb (5), Clark (3), Carpenter (3), F. Watson (3), Cortez (1).
McCloud scored seven of Cove’s first 11 points before senior Aaliyah Clark gave the Lady Lions their first points on their first three-pointer, but consecutive baskets by McCloud and an assist from McCloud to Anderson sparked an 8-0 run to close the period.
A basket by Garrett gave Cove their largest lead of the game at 19-3 before the first of four threes by Scott made it a 19-6 contest. 
Trips to the free throw line by Cove’s Anderson and Powell; along with baskets by Waco’s Thibodeaux and Scott pushed the score to 23-10.
A driving basket and 1 for 2 free throws by junior AZ Knotts pushed the Lady Dawgs’ lead back to 16, 26-10 with 1:00 minute remining in the first half. 
A three-pointer by Cobb cut Cove’s lead to 13 and 1 for 2 free throws by Cove’s Knotts closed the first half scoring. 
The Lady Dawgs (22-8, 7-5 in District 12-6A), who hold a slim lead on the Temple TemCats (6-5) for the fourth and final playoff spot, travel to Waco to face the no. 18 (Texas Girls Coaches Association) Midway Pantherettes while Temple travels to Killeen to the Lady Roos (1-11) who broke an 11-game district losing streak with a 50-47 win over Shoemaker on Friday. The Lady Dawgs hold the tiebreaker over Temple by virtue of their 61-53 first-round win.
“We’re just going to put in energy to not come out flat in the third quarter,” said Barnes-Graham. “I know I sound like a broken record but, against Midway, but we’re going to have to play from the beginning of each quarter to the end of each quarter and not take any possessions off.” 

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