BELTON — The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs didn’t have to be as dominant against the Killeen Kangaroos as they were when the teams met a week ago. They just had to be the better team down the stretch.
Rashard Odomes scored a game-high 25 points and Cove held Killeen without a field goal for almost five minutes in the fourth quarter in an 80-68 win on Friday at the Mayborn Campus Center.
“It was a good win for third place and now we’ve got to go get Duncanville,” Odomes said.
The win gives the Bulldawgs (18-14) the District 8-5A third-place seed. The Roos (21-12) will be the district’s fourth seed. Both teams finished with an 8-6 district record.
As a result of the win, Cove will play Duncanville in the Region I-5A bi-district playoff round while Killeen faces No. 2 DeSoto.
The Cove-Duncanville game will be played on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The teams will play either at Hillsboro or Waco Midway.
Killeen and Desoto are tentatively scheduled to play on Tuesday at McLennan Community College in Waco. The game will be either at 6:30 or 7 p.m.
“The kids were playing great team ball like they’ve been playing the past couple of weeks,” Cove head coach Billy White Jr. said. “I’m proud of my guys, I’m proud of the effort that they’ve been putting out and I’m proud of the way they’re playing together.”
Elijah Sobers added 18 points for Cove. Killeen was led by Brian Long’s 17 points while both Devyn Williams and Mikell Clark scored 13 apiece.
“The one good thing is we’re still in the playoffs,” Killeen head coach Reggie Huggins said. “Regardless of seeding, you’re going to play somebody good. Everybody’s good in the playoffs, they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t.”
Killeen and Cove split the regular season series, with each winning on its home court.
Seven days ago, Cove blew out Killeen 85-52, but this game was much more difficult for the Dawgs to pull off.
A Clark drive and 3-point play put Killeen ahead 60-58 with 5:10 remaining, but after that points were hard to come by.
From there it was all Cove as a Montre’ Williams 3-pointer gave Cove the lead back and sparked a 13-0 run that put Cove ahead 74-61 with 1:02 remaining.
“Our coach told us it was important to play defense and lock up,” Odomes said. “In the beginning, we were playing loose defense and let them get buckets. We had to lock up.”
The Dawgs outscored the Roos 10-4 in the paint in the final quarter.
The Roos broke their nearly five-minute scoring drought when Cress hit a 3-pointer with 17.8 seconds left. By that point Cove led 78-68 and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
The Dawgs started the game with a lot of the same momentum and aggressiveness they showed in their previous meeting.
The Bulldawgs were able to find the holes in the Roos’ 2-3 zone as Sobers scored his first nine points in the first five minutes of the game to help Cove take an early 16-5 lead.
The Roos were eventually able to find their form offensively as Long was able to drive to the paint before foul trouble forced him to become a spectator.
Killeen went into the locker room at halftime with a 41-34 lead. The Roos scored nine points off 10 Cove turnovers as Cress finished with 10 and Dant’e Ellis-Thomas added nine.
Despite their third consecutive loss, Devyn said the Roos have an opportunity to mount a colossal upset against DeSoto.
“We’re going to work our butts off to try and make this upset next week,” Devyn said.
Cove forced a total of 16 turnovers and outrebounded Killeen 32-18. White said that effort and tenacity would serve the Dawgs well against Duncanville.
“We just have to continue to play ball the way we did,” White said. “It’s huge that we’re playing the way we’re playing at this time. It’s a real good situation. I’m proud of where our ball club is right now. We just have to keep getting better and go from there.”
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com