Blue jerseys were everywhere.
Copperas Cove’s full-court defense was too fast. Everything was going too fast for the Killeen Runnin’ Roos, everything but the beating — that seemed to go on all night.
The Bulldawgs forced nine turnovers and outscored Killeen 17-4 in the final six minutes of the first quarter and hardly let up in their 70-41 win at Killeen on Friday night to grab a share of fourth-place in the District 8-5A standings.
Copperas Cove and Killeen share the spot in the standings with each having games against playoff-locked teams. The Bulldawgs host district co-leader Shoemaker and Killeen plays at third-place Harker Heights on Tuesday.
“We’re not going to breathe a sigh of relief yet, because we’re not in (the playoffs) yet; we just gave ourselves a chance to be in the hunt,” said Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. “We’ve got to make sure we go out there on Tuesday and take care of Shoemaker.”
After a 3-pointer by DeVarri McCray with 6:28 left in the first quarter gave Killeen a 7-0 lead, Cory Scott hit a 3, then scored a fast-break layup off Deion Robinson’s steal and the defense did the rest.
The Bulldawgs (19-11, 7-6 8-5A) utilized their press late in the first meeting between the two teams — a 60-57 Killeen win — to help them rally from a 13-point third-quarter deficit. They were quick to pull the trigger for the pressure in the second match-up.
“After watching the film when we made our run in the first game in the first round, I saw how effective it could be against them,” White said.
“We started putting that defensive pressure on them and were able to turn them over and then get some baskets out in transition, like we’ve been saying all year, when we’re able to score in transition, we’re pretty good,” he added.
Cove held the Roos without a field goal for the rest of the first quarter, in fact, Killeen (18-16, 7-6) only took three shots from the field after McCray’s 3. The Roos were 0-for-3 from the field, 4-of-7 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over nine times, including seven straight.
“The pressure was crazy. We knew that they couldn’t handle the pressure, they didn’t have enough ball-handlers to, so we were just going use our speed and our aggressiveness and just pressure them the whole game,” said Scott, who led all scorers with 26 points.
Rashard Odomes scored 15 and Rashaun Gibson added 13 for the Bulldawgs. Brian Long and Mikell Clark each had 11 to lead the Roos.
Killeen turned the ball over 25 times in the game, including 18 in the first half, and even when the Roos’ guards did break the press, the offense never slowed down, leading to 17 missed layups.
“If we don’t turn the ball over, we would be fine, but we get into panic situations and we went faster than everybody on the court, when actually, you should be slowing down,” said Killeen coach Reggie Huggins. “It just turned to a horrible night.”
The Roos went more than three minutes without scoring in the second quarter as Cove turned its 19-15 lead with 6:34 left in the first half to 30-15 on Jacob Peart’s 3-pointer with 3:48 left.
Killeen cut the lead to 10, 44-34, with 2:33 left in the third on a lay-up by Dadrien Moore, but was outscored 7-1 the rest of the quarter and trailed 51-35 going into the fourth, where the Roos never got the difference below 15.
“They were all over the place and we couldn’t get it across,” said Killeen junior point guard Devyn Williams. “We could’ve done something else — swing it more, walk it up — but they were just running around the whole time, getting their hands on balls, doing what they needed to do to get the win.”