COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove held on for the win, so it could continue clinging onto hope.
After building a 19-point lead in the third quarter, the Bulldawgs watched their advantage dwindle to six points late in the game, but Rashard Odomes made big plays late to help Copperas Cove beat Waco Midway 94-86, keeping it in the hunt for a playoff berth after entering the day in a three-way tie for fifth place in the District 8-5A standings.
“Fortunately, there is still enough time and enough games that we can somewhat control our own destiny as far as getting into the playoffs,” Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. said. “Every time we step on the court, we have to (win) pretty much. So, it was big coming out here and fighting and clawing and taking care of what we needed to take care of.”
The Bulldawgs (15-10, 3-5) entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point advantage, leading 72-60, but the Panthers used a 13-6 run to pull within five points at 78-73. Midway (12-14, 2-6)
continued to hang around, but Copperas Cove senior Cory Scott put the exclamation point on a 6-0 run by delivering a slam dunk, and the Bulldawgs held a 88-77 lead with two minutes remaining in the game.
But it was not enough.
Midway pulled within six points, 90-84, with 30.8 seconds remaining before Odomes made a pair of free throws and collected a midcourt steal he delivered to Deion Robinson, who made a layup to give Cove a comfortable 10-point cushion, 94-84, with less than 20 seconds remaining.
Scott, who finished with a game-high 30 points, only made one field goal in the fourth quarter and was glad his teammates were able to pick up the slack down the stretch.
“It is a relief, it is a big relief,” Scott said. “To know that everything is not on you, and that I can trust my teammates. … I love those guys, and I’m glad they are knocking down big shots for me.”
Odomes finished with 21 points, scoring eight in the second quarter to give the Bulldawgs a 45-32 lead at halftime.
Copperas Cove’s lead grew to 54-36 following a pair of successful Scott free throws with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter. Scott added five more points, giving him a dozen in the quarter.
“First two minutes of each half is the biggest part of the game,” Scott said. “If we can get the momentum right from the get go, then we can carry it out. I knew I had to step up and become the leader that I am, score the ball and get us going.”
Now, the Bulldawgs get to do it all over again as they host Belton on Friday.
“We have to jump out right from the start against Belton,” White said. “They have a solid group if you let them be solid. They play hard, they work hard all the time, and we have to make sure we come out and play right from the start and match or exceed their intensity.”