COPPERAS COVE — Montre’ Williams could not contain his excitement, and Pflugerville Hendrickson could not contain him.
After missing his first shot of the game, Copperas Cove’s senior guard made each of his next five shots, including three 3-pointers, propelling the Bulldawgs to an early double-digit lead before cruising to an 86-56 opening-night victory Tuesday.
Once the win was secured, Williams admitted he was in the zone almost immediately.
“I got hyped after the first one,” he said of his first-half performance. “It felt good to get back on the court.”
Williams finished with 15 points—all in the first half—and received plenty of help from his teammates as four Bulldawgs finished with at least 14 points.
Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. credited Williams, however, with setting the tone.
“He was able to get out there and hit some big shots for us to get us going,” he said. “(My) guys were playing with a lot of energy, and we were able to get some things accomplished.”
Most notably, the Bulldawgs (1-0) were able to dictate the pace of the game from the opening tip.
In addition to Williams, junior Chance Smith connected on all four of his first-quarter shots and did not miss until the third quarter en route to 14 points. The pair combined to score 15 points as the Bulldawgs constructed a 26-14 lead by the end of the first quarter that grew to 22 points, 48-26, by halftime.
“That’s exactly what we had talked about doing,” White said, “but talking about it and doing it are two totally different things. So I was proud of the kids for being able to go out there and execute what we discussed in the pregame meeting.”
After Williams and Smith helped build a large lead, senior Rashard Odomes and freshman post Elafayette Stone led the Bulldawgs to a strong finish.
Odomes scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to round out an impressive overall showing.
He also contributed six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win.
“We’ve been waiting for this,” Odomes said. “We’ve been training, coming in at 5 a.m., and I feel like we were ready for this.”
In his first varsity game, Stone made all six of his field-goal attempts, finishing with 17 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
He also added six rebounds to tie Odomes and Smith for team-high honors.
Following its first-half outburst, Copperas Cove experienced a minor lull in the third quarter as the Hawks (0-1) used a 16-8 run to pull within 14 points, 56-42, late in the third quarter, but they could not get any closer.
Stone’s offensive rebound and putback triggered a 30-14 run by Copperas Cove to end the game as Hendrickson scored consecutive baskets just once during the stretch.
While White would have preferred to avoid the small slump altogether, he was pleased with the way his players responded.
“Anytime they can take that bend-but-don’t-break mentality, that’s great,” he said.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org