COPPERAS COVE — Eldridge McAdams finally had a complete roster at his disposal, and he made the most of it.
With the Copperas Cove volleyball team being eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend, the Lady Bulldawgs first-year head basketball coach was able to get his hands on a couple of dual-sport athletes who eluded him since his arrival. Although neither started, Mikayla Blount and Bryaunea Hall transitioned seasons almost seamlessly, combining to score 17 points in a one-sided victory against Waco.
Along with their offense, the pair produced a total of 18 rebounds as every Lady Bulldawg scored in the 70-40 win.
After attempting to create cohesion without two returning all-district first team selections from a year ago, McAdams was relatively pleased with how his team performed at full strength.
“It is good to finally have the team,” he said. “We’ve still got a little work (to do), so I’m happy but not satisfied.”
Despite finding flaws, McAdams could not complain about the final score as the Lady Bulldawgs (1-1) never trailed in their home opener.
Hall made both of her first-quarter shots, including a 3-pointer, en route to 13 points, while grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots. Blount did not make a field goal until the fourth quarter, but finished with six points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.
While all of Copperas Cove’s players scored, no player was more efficient than Brittany Gamble, who was an all-district second team member last season. The senior guard delivered a game-high 20 points, making 8 of 11 shots, including her lone 3-point attempt, and was 3 of 4 from the foul line.
And in the second quarter, she carried her team as it suffered through a shooting slump.
After trailing 17-13 to end the first quarter, Waco tied the score at 19-19 before Gamble sandwiched a pair of jumpers around Tateyana Harris’ shot from the paint to establish a 25-19 lead that grew to a dozen points, 34-22, by halftime. Gamble scored nine points in the period and made all three of her field goals, while the rest of the team combined to shoot 4 of 14 from the floor.
McAdams blames a lack of defense, however, as much as a lack of offense for Waco’s surge.
“We got out to a lead, which was good,” McAdams said, “but then they started hitting some shots. Their guards were going at one speed and getting to the rack, so that is one thing we will work on. We’ve got to step over and take that away.”
The Lady Bulldawgs experienced another offensive drought in the third quarter, missing 10 of their 14 shots, but it did not matter as the Lady Lions (0-2) went 3 of 15 from the floor.
Leading 48-30 to start the fourth quarter, Copperas Cove put the game away by hitting 10 of its final 18 shots and closed the contest with a 14-1 run to give McAdams his first victory since inheriting the program in May.
“It feels good,” he said. “You’d like to get every one of them, but the first one is always a sweet one.”