Lady Dawgs use second- and fourth-quarter runs to down SA Central
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs got back in the win column with a much-needed 54-39 win at home over San Angelo Central Tuesday night at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
After home loss to Belton and dropping a road contest to No. 7 Midway last week, the Lady Dawgs needed to secure a win at home to keep pace with the district frontrunners.
The Lady Dawgs fought off a third-quarter rally by the Lady Bobcats to take the win and secure their third-place position in the District 8-6A standings.
The Lady Dawgs used a 16-6 run in the second quarter, paced by sophomore post Kaysha McCloud and senior forward Eric Powell, to gain a 23-16 halftime lead and never trailed again.
The duo combined for 10 of Cove’s 16 points in the frame.
Play in the paint was integral in the win and head coach Eldridge McAdams was impressed with his sophomore.
“Kaysha is only a sophomore so she definitely has room to grow,” said McAdams. “We’re working on that physicality. She doesn’t want to hurt nobody so we’re kind of working on that. I thought tonight, at times, she was real physical and that’s definitely good. She’s only a sophomore and she does some great things right now. It’s good to have a team where you have several people that can step up. In order for us to be good and we need that.”
McCloud finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 points while Powell finished with 10 points and three steals.
Despite a dominant second quarter, the Lady Dawgs still found themselves in a close battle, 33-31, early in the fourth quarter after a 7-2 run to end the third and start the fourth.
They finished strong, however, with a 21-7 run to close the game.
Junior guard Madison Griffon scored all eight of her points in the final frame and junior Jayda Carter hit two of her four three-pointers during the run for her game-high 15 points.
“I thought we did really good,” said Carter. “We started off slow but we picked up the energy. The energy was there, we picked each other up and we were smart about what we did.”
Carter credits the energy of her teammates for her big night.
“It’s just like the energy of other people when they pass it off and how they bring you up,” she said. “It’s just a feeling you get. It’s reading the defense but it’s also a feeling energy from other people.
She also knows having many shooters helps keep defenses at bay.
“It’s very important,” she said. “We have many on the team that can step up whenever we need them. It’s good that we have so many players that have different roles.”
Big plays in the paint by McCloud and Powell doesn’t hurt either.
“They do great,” said Carter. “I love playing with them. Their energy is always up there. Erica is always positive on the court. When everybody else is slow, she comes in and picks everybody back up.
“Kaysha is on the boards constantly rebounding and kicking it out to us. They help out a lot by doing what they do in the paint.”
Leading by five points heading into the final frame, a three-pointer by Central’s Morgan Walker and a basket by Tay Dosson pull the Lady Cats within two, 33-31, but the first of two carter treys kick started the Lady Dawgs’ run.
A three-pointer by sophomore guard Madisen Honea pushed Cove’s lead to seven, 39-32.
A pair of free throws by Cadye Nelms temporarily halted the Cove run but plays in the paint by Griffon, resulting in a basket and two made free throws, pushed the Lady Dawgs’ lead to nine and an offensive rebound and putback by McCloud gave the Lady Dawgs an 11-point lead with 4:07 remaining.
Another successful trip to the charity stripe by Nelms made it a single-digit Cove lead at 45-36 and a three-pointer by Walker made it a two-possession game,45-39, but the Lady Dawgs finished on a 9-0 run to secure the win.
A floater by Griffon, a three-pointer by Carter, two free throws by Erica Powell and a driving bucket by Griffon accounted for the Cove run.
A pair of buckets by Dosson and a three-pointer by Walker helped Central take a 10-7 lead after eight minutes of action.
A steal by McCloud resulting in a pair of made free throws and the first Carter three knotted the game at 12-all before dominant plays in the paint by McCloud and Powell pushed Cove’s lead to eight and a three-pointer by sophomore Leah Powell gave Cove their first double-digit lead of the contest, 23-12, to close out an 11-0 run.
A bucket by Nelms along with free throws by Dosson and Nelms closed out the second-quarter scoring.
A basket by Nelms and a three by Victoria Lopez pulled Central within two to start the third.
Baskets by McCloud and Carter along two free throws and a basket by Erica Powell pushed Cove out front 31-24 with 1:41 left in the third. A bucket by Nelms closed out the period.
Carter finished with 15 points to lead Cove followed by McCloud (10 pts, 10 rebounds), Erica Powell (10 pts, 3 rebs, 3 stls), Griffon (8 pts, five assists), Leah Powell (5 pts, 2 rebs), senior Mariyah Reynolds (4 pts, 2 assts, 2 rebs), and Honea (3 pts, 3 assts).
Following Nelms’ team-high 14 points and six rebounds were Walker 9 pts), Dosson (7 pts), Lopez (5 pts) and Parris Parmer (4 pts).
The Lady Dawgs are back in action tonight on the road at no. 18 Ellison.
“You watch the other teams and you scout them but the biggest team I have to scout and worry about is the Lady Dawgs,” said McAdams. “We’re going to go in and do what we need to do. The first time we played Ellison, we didn’t shoot the ball well. We were 12 for 70 from the field and, hopefully when we go over there, we’ll hit some shots that we were missing. We’ve got to play our best game. Coach Mac does an excellent job over there and they will be ready. They want that district championship. We just need to do our jobs and try to stay afloat to give ourselves a chance.”
The senior Powell knows is all about having the right mindset.
“First off, we need to be focused from today on to Friday,” she said. “It’s a mental thing. We know what they did to us the last time so we need to come back and do it to them.”