Eldridge McAdams got everything he wanted except a championship trophy.
Competing at Bryan-College Station’s Aggieland Invitational against 30 other teams, Copperas Cove emerged from the tournament fourth overall after losing to Rockwall 55-50 on Thursday morning.
Although the Lady Bulldawgs’ head coach feels his team should have been in the title game, McAdams returns home confident something even more valuable was attained during the trip.
“We’re more than 100 miles away from home,” he said, “and we’re here as a team.
“We go to lunch together, we eat breakfast together and do this and that together, and I think that helps them grow.
“They are bonding, and now we want to take that chemistry back to Copperas Cove and into practice, so we’ll be ready for district.”
The Lady Bulldawgs resume District 8-6A competition Tuesday, traveling to face state-ranked Ellison at 7 p.m. for a critical contest.
Copperas Cove lost two of its first three district games, meaning a loss to the Lady Eagles, who are situated 10th in the current Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Poll, would put the Lady Bulldawgs at a distinct disadvantage in the standings.
Currently, Copperas Cove is one game behind No. 11 Waco Midway and Belton, which both have wins over the Lady Bulldawgs, and two games back of Ellison.
But McAdams does not believe this is the same team from before the holiday break.
“From a chemistry standpoint,” he said, “we’ve really grown over these last two or three days, which is exciting.
“I hope this momentum carries over, because I saw a lot of good things. They were really working together, and that is promising.”
Copperas Cove produced a pair of double-digit victories on the tournament’s opening day, defeating Crosby 66-55 in the first round before beating Lufkin 56-31 Tuesday evening.
In the third round, the Lady Bulldawgs continued their streak, upsetting host Bryan by 18 points, 61-43.
But Copperas Cove (14-9) could not keep up the pace, falling in the semifinals to College Station 58-54 as starting guard Oni Boodoo sat out as a precaution after suffering a minor injury against Bryan.
“That kind of hurt a little bit,” McAdams said, “but other girls stepped up.
“In the end, we just didn’t take advantage of opportunities we had late in the game. …
“We fought, but down the stretch, we gave it to them in a way.”
Thursday morning, Rockwall handed the Lady Bulldawgs their second consecutive loss, but despite how the team finished, McAdams believes a lot was accomplished.
“The girls definitely played well overall,” he said. “They were getting after it, and it was just fun to watch.
“They were executing, and it was just one of those deals where they did a lot of things right.”