COPPERAS COVE — Teresa Durham described her team’s defensive effort as “unacceptable.”
And that was after a win.
Copperas Cove saw a 17-point first-half lead dwindle to single digits late in the game before holding on for a 69-64 victory against Harker Heights, spoiling a record-breaking performance from Lady Knights guard JaQuan Jackson.
Jackson torched Copperas Cove for 31 points after halftime, including 20 in the fourth quarter, en route to a school record 46 points. But the Lady Bulldawgs did just enough down the stretch to eke out a victory. While the win snapped a two-game district losing streak for Copperas Cove, the Lady Bulldawgs head coach saw little reason to celebrate.
“(Jackson) is a great player, and I don’t want to take anything away from her, but we should have never allowed that to happen,” Durham said. “Defensively, we just stopped playing.
“I’ve never had a player go off on my team like that before, but, again, we just didn’t do our jobs.”
After Brittany Gamble and Bryaunea Hall combined to score 17 of Copperas Cove’s 19 first-quarter points, the Lady Bulldawgs (18-8, 5-2 District 8-5A) extended their lead to 13 points, 40-27, at halftime. The advantage held through the third quarter and Harker Heights (10-13, 2-5) trailed 55-42 entering the fourth quarter.
Then, Jackson took over.
The senior was the only Lady Knight to record a field goal during the final eight minutes, connecting on eight of 13 attempts, while the remainder of the roster combined to miss 13 shots. Nevertheless, Jackson kept her team in the game, hitting a 3-pointer to cut Copperas Cove’s lead to five points at 62-57 with 3:16 remaining and again with 2:09 remaining after hitting an and-1 free throw to make the score 66-61.
Lady Bulldawgs guard Shawnte’ Goff’s driving layup extended Copperas Cove’s lead to 68-61, but Jackson made a free throw and hit a turnaround jumper to make it a four-point game, 68-64, with 40 seconds left. The Lady Knights would not get any closer, though as Goff hit a free throw with 20 seconds remain to secure the victory.
Despite losing, Jackson knew she had just put together a memorable performance.
“It was just a great game for me,” Jackson said. “It feels good to break my own record.
“I’m not really upset, I think we played great, so it is a good thing to me. I’m satisfied with the loss.”
Only one other Lady Knight made more than one field goal in the game, and no other Harker Heights player contributed more than six points.
Conversely, led by Hall’s team-high 17 points, four Lady Bulldawgs finished with double-digit scoring. Goff added 15 and Gamble finished with 14, while Mikayla Blount and Jasmin Johnson fell just short of achieving the feat as each scored eigh
“Somebody’s grandmamma could have come out of the stands, and she would have hit a shot because they were on fire,” Harker Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson said. “It wasn’t just one person, anybody would get the ball and put it in the rim tonight for them.”
Hall finished with a game-high 13 rebounds, and Goff added a game-high eight assists to go with seven rebounds, but the stats did little to satisfy Durham, who reluctantly admitted the victory was significant for her team from the perspective of building momentum.
“I’ll definitely take it, but these are the kinds of games that make coaches go home and just pull their hair out,” the coach said. “I was disappointed because I felt like we kind of let down cause we thought we had this one won.
“I feel very lucky to walk out tonight with a win.”