Montre’ Williams ends his career with a sense of personal satisfaction. He is not walking away satisfied, though.
Copperas Cove’s senior put together a standout showing during the Bulldawgs’ playoff opener Tuesday, leading his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. The impressive performance was not enough to earn a victory, however, as Duncanville beat Copperas Cove 64-57, ending the Bulldawgs’ season.
While Williams knows he delivered for his team, statistics only offer a small measure of gratification.
“I’m proud of what I did, but I’d rather have the win,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many points I scored.”
The Bulldawgs held a small advantage early in the game as Williams accounted for 17 of his team’s first 25 points, but a second-quarter surge by the Panthers created a lead Copperas Cove could never completely erase.
Williams recorded a game-high 26 points in the defeat, while also finishing with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
After suffering through a five-year postseason absence, Williams helped the Bulldawgs end the program’s streak with a game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime of last season’s District 8-5A finale before guiding them back this year.
But the point guard is quick to pass off the credit.
“I feel good about all I’ve accomplished here,” Williams said. “The coaches pushed me to be the best player I could be. They worked with me, so I really appreciate them a lot.”
Williams scored nine of Copperas Cove’s first-quarter points against Duncanville, and the Bulldawgs went into the second quarter leading 15-13. Moments later, the Panthers embarked on a 10-2 run to construct a 25-19 advantage, and never looked back.
Duncanville (19-11) closed the quarter strong, extending its lead to 14 points, 36-22, but Williams’ half-court heave at the buzzer was on point, trimming the halftime deficit to 11 points. The Bulldawgs scored eight unanswered points to start the third quarter to get within three points, 36-33, but did not get any closer.
“I feel like we were playing good, hard defense, but we would get tired,” Copperas Cove junior Rashard Odomes said. “Then, that’s when they would start coming back and putting up points.”
Odomes finished with 15 points to complement Williams, but no other Bulldawgs player scored more than four points.
For the Panthers, Miami commit Omar Sherman recorded a 21-point, 16-rebound double-double to go with five blocks, while teammates Matt McQuaid (17 points) and D.J. Wallace (15 points) benefitted from defensive attention paid to the 6-foot-8 post.
After Williams’ assisted Chance Smith’s jumper, creating a 36-33 game with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Sherman’s dunk sparked an 11-4 run to push the Panthers’ lead back to double digits at 47-37 early in the fourth quarter.
Williams ended the streak with a successful and-1 play and teammate Devante Robinson connected on a pair of free throws to pull the Bulldawgs (18-15) within five points, 47-42, but the Panthers had another response, scoring eight unanswered points to virtually secure the victory.
“They keep their composure,” Bulldawgs head coach Billy White Jr. said of his players. “That is one of the reasons they were able to fight back throughout the season. They always keep their composure, and they just come out to play ball.”
Although his high school career is over, Williams feels confident Copperas Cove’s returning players will maintain the standards he helped set.
“I feel like we should go to the playoffs every year now,” he said. “We’ve got a good underclass. I think we might win district next year.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com