COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove won by 21 points, but the Lady Bulldawgs still got lucky.
Late in the fourth quarter against Shoemaker, Copperas Cove post Bryaunea Hall corralled a loose ball out by the 3-point arc, took a step back behind the line, gathered herself and hoisted a shot.
Once the ball went through the net, the entire Lady Bulldawgs’ roster simultaneously celebrated and exhaled a sigh of relief, knowing they had just dodged a bullet.
“She knows she is not really allowed to shoot those, but in the spur of the moment tonight, she shot it,” Copperas Cove head coach Teresa Durham said of the 5-foot-11 junior’s 3-pointer. “Just about everyone on the bench went, ‘Oh, it is a good thing she made that shot,” because she knows that is not in her range or anything we plan to ever do.”
Almost everything went the Lady Bulldawgs’ way Friday as they outscored Shoemaker in every quarter en route to a 71-49 victory.
Led by sophomore Mikayla Blount’s game-high 18 points, six Copperas Cove players finished with at least seven points, while Shoemaker suffered through a 16-of-54 shooting performance and missed half (17-34) of its free throws.
“We have not developed enough resiliency to get past those little bity things that disrupt whatever we’re doing,” Shoemaker head coach Lori Shead said. “We can’t miss one defensive assignment, we can’t miss one blockout because we can’t recuperate and get it back.”
The Lady Grey Wolves never led in the game, but made four consecutive free throws to pull within a single point, 14-13, moments into the second quarter. Copperas Cove (20-8, 7-2 District 8-5A) responded by scoring 11 consecutive points and 17 of the game’s next 20 points to build a 15-point cushion at 31-16, and Shoemaker did not get within single digits for the remainder of the game.
The Lady Bulldawgs took a 33-22 lead into halftime before scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter. Copperas Cove’s leading scorer, Shawnte’ Goff, who finished with eight rebounds, six assists and a block, recorded eight of her 10 points in the third quarter, but it was not enough to keep Shoemaker (7-17, 1-8) from making its most significant run of the game.
Trailing 43-22, the Lady Grey Wolves embarked on a 12-2 run to trim the deficit to 11 points, 45-34, but they would get no closer.
Copperas Cove immediately went on a streak of its own, and Stephanie Cochran, who scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter, capped off a 13-4 run with a basket in the paint, giving the Lady Bulldawgs a 20-point lead, 58-38, with 5:21 remaining in the game.
The lead ballooned to 67-42 moments after Hall, who finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, connected on her uncharacteristic 3-pointer.
Copperas Cove dominated the glass in the game, outrebounding Shoemaker 34-20.
“I felt like we played with a lot of intensity,” Blount, who made 10 of 12 free throws and recorded eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, said. “Everyone on the team contributed, and there was a lot more energy.”
Shoemaker senior post Cion Hicks finished with team-highs of 17 points and eight rebounds, but received little help. Only two other Lady Grey Wolves — Briana Gatson and Reshaya Parker — made multiple shots from the floor. Gatson and Parker scored seven and six points, respectively.
“I don’t think it is anything they did to us,” Shead said. “We were just in a self-destruction (mode).”