COPPERAS COVE — As soon as the ball left Montre’ Williams’ hands, he knew it was going in the basket and his Bulldawgs were playoff bound.
The Copperas Cove junior guard drained a game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer Friday night in overtime against Shoemaker in a 73-72 victory — the Bulldawgs’ fourth in a row in District 8-5A.
“I had a pretty good guess that it was going in because I knew we were going to win,” Williams said. “It wasn’t too good a look at the basket because the defender was in my face — so I had to change my shot.”
Williams ended up with the ball with less than 3 seconds remaining in overtime, dribbled to his right and nailed the long-range trey. The the host gym erupted as Cove earned its first playoff berth since 2008.
“Williams is a guy that doesn’t get talked about a lot but he can make those shots,” said Cove head coach Billy White Jr. “I don’t know how he got it to go down, but he did and we couldn’t be happier.”
It wasn’t possible without the superb play of senior Cory Scott, who had 33 points and six rebounds. Scott scored 20 in the second half — when the Dawgs needed him most.
“When we were down, I said to myself, ‘It’s time to step up,’” Scott said. “I’m just so happy for my team, and to do it in the last game at home means so much to us.”
Scott got 13 of his points from the free-throw line as Cove hit 27 of 34 from the charity stripe while Shoemaker only attempted 12 free throws, hitting nine.
The Bulldawgs found themselves trailing by 13 at halftime and it looked like Shoemaker (25-8, 11-3) was going to roll toward the win.
But the Dawgs received important news during the break that got them focused.
“We found out at half that Killeen lost,” Scott said. “It gave us more motivation and we came out and played better. I saw Montre’ take that shot and all I could think was, ‘Please go in.’”
Cove outscored the Wolves 23-12 in the third quarter to nearly erase the halftime deficit. Scott scored 13 points during the comeback.
Scott found himself in a pressure-cooker situation toward the end of regulation. Leading 64-63 with 9 seconds left, Scott drained two free throws to put the Dawgs up 66-63.
“I always want the ball in important situations,” Scott said. “I want to be there for my team and do the things that help us win.”
But Shoemaker, as it did all night, answered with a big shot of its own as Grey Wolves’ senior guard Paris Yerry nailed a long 3-pointer to tie the score with zeroes showing on the time clock and force overtime.
“Our guys played really well in a hostile environment,” said Grey Wolves coach Marc Minatrea. “We had the lead at the end and they got a shot to go in — we don’t have to shake off anything. We are in the playoffs.”
Shoemaker junior forward Shane Johnson had 18 points and six rebounds while Yerry finished with 17 points.
Cove outscored Shoemaker 7-6 in the overtime period with Williams’ last-second prayer being the clincher.