Copperas Cove desperately wants to make the playoffs. In a way, the Bulldawgs have already accomplished their goal.
It might not be exactly what Copperas Cove envisioned, and it might be occurring two weeks before the end of the regular season, but the Bulldawgs are practically in a win-or-go-home situation every time they step foot on the court.
After suffering a 78-58 home loss to Ellison on Tuesday, Copperas Cove fell two full games behind Killeen for the fourth and final playoff berth, sitting at 4-6 in District 8-5A with four games remaining.
It is not an enviable position by any means, but it could be a beneficial situation, nonetheless.
If Copperas Cove wants to reach the postseason without the help of a tiebreaker, it needs to earn at least three victories, including a must-win game against the Kangaroos on Feb. 8.
Obviously, the Bulldawgs’ upcoming stretch of games will define their season. It will also set a tone for any potential trip to the playoffs.
Should Copperas Cove find a way to clinch a postseason spot, it will be battle-tested like no other team in the district. The Eagles already secured their berth with Tuesday’s win against the Bulldawgs, and even a mediocre finish to the season will send Shoemaker and Harker Heights to the playoffs, leaving one spot for Copperas Cove and Killeen to fight over.
If it finds a way to play beyond the final district contest, Copperas Cove would have competed in a playoff-level atmosphere for two full weeks. For all the headaches and frustration the Bulldawgs’ slow start in district caused head coach Billy White Jr., the payoff could be immense if Copperas Cove finds a way to go on a season-ending winning streak.
A season-altering run would not only propel Copperas Cove into the playoffs, but the team would enter the postseason with a hardened mentality, making it capable of laughing in the face of an elimination situation.
Regardless, it is time for the Bulldawgs to either step up or move aside, and tonight’s game at Temple should speak volumes about the team’s level of commitment. Copperas Cove needs to make a statement against the 1-9 Wildcats to get this season-altering stretch underway.
But it is going to take more than just the Bulldawgs doing a two-week turnaround for them to get in the playoffs.