Slow second quarter costs Lady Dawgs in bi-district playoff loss to Horn
By TJ MAXWELL
WACO – Smothering defense by Mesquite Horn paired with cold shooting by Copperas Cove put the Lady Dawgs in a deep hole they just couldn’t dig out of in their 58-44 playoff loss to the Mesquite Horn Lady Jags in the bi-district round of the UIL 2019 Girls State Basketball Championships Monday night at McLennan Community College’s The Highlands Gym.
“We had opportunities to cut into the lead, but we missed some easy baskets,” said Copperas Cove girls’ head basketball coach Eldridge McAdams. “I knew that team was fast and their game plan was to get out. I knew they had two guards that we had to stop, but we just came up on the short end. Somebody has to lose and tonight t was us.”
The Lady Dawgs were just 2 for 20 from inside the paint in the first half and finished the night 5 for 13 from beyond the arc, including one for 10 in the first half.
“I thought we still competed and tried to do some things,” said McAdams. “Sometimes those shots look really good and then they don’t go in. It was just one of those deals.
“When you’re making those baskets, it definitely makes the game different. We went on that stretch where we didn’t score many points and that hurt a little bit. It makes you change your game plan and get in a rush.”
A 26-5 Lady Jags run spanning the second and third quarters opened a 34-18 Horn lead with 6:57 left in the third quarter after the Lady Dawgs controlled most of the opening quarter on the way to a 13-10 lead after eight minutes of action.
A pair of three-pointers by senior Madison Griffon and another by senior Jayda Carter looked to slow the Lady Jags’ run but Horn answered with three-pointers of their own by senior N’yah Boyd and junior Danielle Johnson for a 17-point Horn lead, 44-27.
“I think our emotions were just running high,” said Griffon. “We all felt ready and thought we were ready, but that was as good team. I thought we did pretty good, we just came up short.”
A 13-5 run by the Lady Dawg that began at the end of the third quarter and continued into the fourth quarter cut the Lady Jags lead to single digits, 49-40, with 4:12 remaining.
A putback by Cove junior Kaysha McCloud and a scoop and score by junior Keana Garrett cut the Jags’ lead to 44-31 at the end of the third quarter before a putback and a pair of free throws by junior Leah Powell, a three-pointer and a basket by Carter pulled Cove within nine.
A three-pointer by Jags’ sophomore guard Jasmine Shavers and a basket by Jags’ senior forward Jalyn Reagans on consecutive trips then put the game out of reach at 54-40 with 2:46 left in the quarter.
Griffon scored nearly half of Cove’s 44 points with her 20-point performance. She also had four assists and six rebounds.
Griffon would gladly trade her game-high scoring performance for a win.
“I would take a win over anything,” she said. “Whatever I have to do to win is what I’d rather do.”
Powell added nine points and five rebounds and Carter finished with eight points and three boards. Also scoring for Cove was junior Madisen Honea (3), McCloud (2) and Garrett (2).
Boyd finished with 18 points and seven rebounds while Shavers finished with 12 and Reagans had 10 to pace the Lady Jags.
McAdams loses three seniors off the squad, which normally would be a good thing, but McAdams acknowledges this is a tough loss for the program.
“They are three good ones that I definitely wish I could have back,” he said. “They have been with me the last four years. You’re happy for them because they’re moving on to another part of their life, but you definitely hate to lose them.”
He loses transfer player Johnson along with four-year varsity starters Carter and Griffon.
“Chyla went to junior high here then she moved and came back,” said McAdams. “I usually don’t allow seniors on the team if they leave, but she was one I told that I would accept her if she came in. She worked hard for us.
“Jayda has been with us for four years and she’s a two-sport letterman,” added McAdams. “She signed a scholarship to go play softball, but she came in and gave us her heart in basketball and I really appreciate that.
“I can’t say enough about (Griffon). Watching her develop from junior high to where she is now and seeing the maturity, I’m excited to see what she’s going to do next in her career.”
Griffon is thankful for her time in a Lady Dawgs’ jersey.
“I remember coming here in seventh or eighth grade and watching,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get here to play for them. This is where I grew up so, being able to put on the jersey for the city and play for the city that I grew up in and helped shape me into who I am, I love it.”
The Lady Dawgs finish the season with a 27-9 record and finished tied for second in District 12-6A.