Lady Dawgs move into four-way tie for first

Cove Leader-Press

The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs basketball team grabbed a share of the District 12-6A lead with a lopsided 73-32 win over the Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves Wednesday afternoon in Killeen.
A balanced offensive attack and smothering defensive presence helped the Lady Dawgs (20-6 overall, 5-2 in district) open a 36-point lead midway through the third quarter on the way to their 41-point win.
 “We were making more shots in the paint,” said Copperas Cove varsity girls’ head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams. “We usually go into halftime struggling in the paint I looked today and we were around 50 or 60 percent in the paint and I think that was the difference. Defensively, we definitely turned it up, but it comes down to we were making layups.”
Junior Kaysha McCloud paced the Lady Dawgs’ offense with 15 points and the defense with six rebounds and four steals.
“Kaysha set the tone and Lil’ Bit (Madison Griffon) was finding her on some nice passes and we made layups,” said McAdams.
McCloud set the pace early with six of the Lady Dawgs’ first 10 points to open a 10-2 lead on the Lady Wolves in the opening period.
McCloud opened the second quarter with another bucket in the paint to start a 10-1 run and closed the run on a put back for a 24-8 Cove lead.
Consecutive three-pointers by junior Leah Powell, a 12-foot jumper by senior Jayda Carter and a free throw by Cove senior Chyla Johnson grew Cove’s lead to 24, 34-10, with 2:23 left in the half.
Shots by Shoemaker juniors Jazmine Banner and Cherith Hicks along with a couple free throws by junior Emi’jah Spencer chipped away at the Cove lead, but a three-pointer by junior Deja Chapman and a putback by sophomore AZ Knotts gave the Lady Dawgs a 40-16 lead at halftime.
The Lady Dawgs then put the game out of reach with a 14-2 run to begin the second half, sparked by consecutive three-pointers by Carter and senior point guard Madison Griffon. 
“We came out and had a good third quarter,” said McAdams. “The third quarter has been our Achilles Heel but today we came out and built on that lead in the third quarter.”
A basket by junior Madisen Honea, a steal for a layup by Powell, a floater by Griffon and free throws by McCloud and Knotts accounted for the rest of the Cove run. 
A three-pointer by junior Kathryn Ruiz sparked a 6-0 run for the Lady Wolves but consecutive baskets by Cove’s Johnson closed out the third quarter with Cove in front 58-24.
A 9-0 run to begin the fourth quarter gave Cove their largest lead of the night at 43, 67-24. A three-pointer by Carter, a basket by Honea, a putback by McCloud and a basket by Powell accounted for the run. 
Baskets by junior Keanna Garrett and free throws by Knotts closed out the scoring for the Lady Dawgs.
The win puts Cove at 5-2 with Belton, Harker Heights and Waco Midway with Killeen (4-3) and Ellison (4-4) in hot pursuit with one game remaining in the first round of district action.
Powell added 14 points, three rebounds and three steals followed by Carter (8 pts, 5 rebs), Honea (8 pts, 5 assists), Griffon (8 pts, five assts), Knotts (7 pts, 4 rebs), Garrett (6 pts, 6 rebs), Johnson (5 pts, 4 rebs), and Chapman (3 pts).
Spencer led the Lady Wolves with seven points followed by Banner (5 pts), senior Alexa Velasquez (5 pts) and Hicks (4 pts). 
The Lady Dawgs are coming off the Bronze Bracket championship at the Aggieland Invitational in Bryan/College Station where they defeated Hunstville 39-26. McCloud had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the title win while Honea finished with 10 points.
The junior varsity Lady Dawgs fell to the Lady Wolves 31-19 while the freshman Lady Dawgs edged Shoemaker 24-22.

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