The situation was looking bleak.
Copperas Cove’s chances of returning to the playoffs did not seem promising two weeks ago, when the Lady Bulldawgs fell to 1-5 in District 8-5A competition following a 48-46 loss at Ellison.
It appeared Copperas Cove would have to resign to chalking the season up to a learning experience under first-year head coach Eldridge McAdams.
“I knew something wasn’t right,” he said. “I kept encouraging the girls and not questioning myself, but just trying to find a way to get it because we had the pieces. They just weren’t together.”
Then, it finally happened: The Lady Bulldawgs developed into a team.
Winners of three consecutive games, Copperas Cove (14-10, 4-5) is now just one game out of the playoff picture, with Waco Midway, which is 2-7 in district, coming to town Tuesday.
While McAdams still finds
himself struggling at times as his seniors acclimate to the third head coach of their high school careers, he believes the worst is over.
“We are starting to trust each other more,” he said. “We are starting to depend on each other more. We’re looking to pass the ball more. We are rotating on defense; we are getting into the paint and making shots.
“I still think we have to work a little on our chemistry because now and then I’ll see some individual things, but it is a whole lot better than what it was.”
With a victory against Midway, the Lady Bulldawgs could regain control of their own fate, while virtually eliminating the Pantherettes from the postseason race, but it will take a more disciplined performance than the first time the teams met.
In the first encounter, Copperas Cove led by one point with 16 seconds remaining, but committed a critical turnover on an inbound pass that led to a game-winning layup for Midway. The 38-37 defeat was the beginning of the Lady Bulldawg’s four-game losing streak that appeared to suck all the life out of the program.
“That was one we gave away,” McAdams said, “and we knew we shouldn’t have.”
A few nights later, however, senior guard Brittany Gamble led Copperas Cove to a 51-44 victory against Temple, and the Lady Bulldawgs have not lost since, including Friday’s 66-39 victory at Shoemaker.
Regardless of whether his players are in the midst of a winning streak or a losing streak, McAdams never saw a change in their temperament.
“Even while we were losing, they were always just happy,” he said. “But in regards to knowing what we can do, we’ve beat Harker Heights and Killeen and Shoemaker, and now they know (what we are capable of). … And this team is exciting to watch now.”