• July 26, 2014

Cove teams hope for new year of normalcy

Repeated bomb threats at district campuses has kept basketball teams out on the road

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Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 1:19 pm, Thu Jul 11, 2013.

The numerous bomb threats recently received at Copperas Cove schools have not done any physical damage. But they have still wreaked havoc.

Multiple school days were cut short or canceled altogether after Copperas Cove Independent School District campuses were repeatedly threatened over the past several weeks. In addition to causing chaos within classrooms, to a lesser degree, athletics were compromised as well.

The most notable teams dealing with the ramifications are the varsity Bulldawgs and Lady Bulldawgs, who have each played their entire District 8-5A schedules to this point on the road. And if the threats are not silenced, the trend could continue.

So far, the teams have combined to relocate four home games to opponents’ courts. The Lady Bulldawgs were forced to play their district opener at Killeen on Dec. 11 before traveling to Waco Midway one week later for their second impromptu road game. The Bulldawgs have only shuffled one district game thus far — last Friday’s game against Belton — but also had their nondistrict finale moved to Lake Travis on Dec. 11.

While the situation is far from ideal, Copperas Cove’s head coaches are adjusting as best they can.

“Right now, it is OK because the kids understand why (the schedules are rearranged), so they are accepting it,” Lady Bulldawgs head coach Teresa Durham said. “There are less distractions on the road, so, in some senses, it is good because we can put school and all the mess behind us.”

Despite the disruptions in both practice schedules and game locations, the Lady Bulldawgs have thrived, winning both relocated games, as well as both scheduled road games, producing an unblemished 4-0 district record. The boys have not fared quite as well, losing at Belton to fall to 1-1 in district after traveling to Lake Travis, where they earned a victory.

Nevertheless, Bulldawgs head coach Billy White Jr. is pleased with his players’ approach to the situation.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot mishaps at school, but I’m proud of these kids because we’ve been having to find places to practice and everything else,” the coach said, “but they’ve been able to come out and keep their focus.”

Since the first bomb threat was received at Copperas Cove Junior High School on Dec. 4 and normal routines became virtually nonexistent for the programs, the Bulldawgs and Lady Bulldawgs have produced a combined record of 9-2 with the boys losing both games by a combined eight points, including Friday’s 72-66 overtime loss to the Tigers.

With the Christmas break under way, the next scheduled home game for either Copperas Cove team is Jan. 4, when the Lady Bulldawgs are set to host Ellison. The situation remains fluid, but the hope is to have normalcy restored by that point, allowing the Bulldawgs and Lady Bulldawgs to finish the season according to their original schedules.

The lone exceptions occur when the Lady Bulldawgs play Killeen on Jan. 15 and Midway on Jan. 22 — the Lady Roos and Pantherettes will both travel to Copperas Cove — and the Bulldawgs face Belton at home on Jan. 25.

Assuming there are no more changes required to either teams’ schedule, the Bulldawgs will play three consecutive home games from Jan. 22 to Jan. 29, and the girls will play five consecutive games and six of their final eight at Copperas Cove. Conversely, the altered schedule gives the Pantherettes, Lady Roos and Tigers each a stretch of three consecutive road games.

The situation benefits the Tigers, according to Belton head coach Charlie Lewis, who admitted he was happy to alter his schedule to accommodate Copperas Cove’s unusual predicament.

“Basically, it is going to help us because in the playoffs you have to play on the road,” the coach said. “So to play good teams on the road (late) in district is beneficial.

“You feel bad for Cove because it is out of their control, but at the same time, they want to play.”

Lewis believes informing fans and finding officials and transportation are the most significant obstacles with the schedule changes, especially when required on short notice, but playing boys and girls games back-to-back — typically, when one team is at home, the other plays on the road — is the situation’s silver lining.

“We don’t usually get an opportunity to play with our girls,” Lewis said. “It is something that used to take place a long time ago, and it is kind of a small-school mentality, but it is good for the fans. That is the good aspect out of it.”

Durham agrees.

“It will create a lot of home games in the second half,” the coach said, “but I came from a smaller school, and I love the varsity boys playing afterward. More of the community comes out to support (both teams).”

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