By Angel Verdejo
The Cove Herald
Chris Carroll expected worse from his basketball team before it stepped on the floor Wednesday.
Billy White was a little disappointed with his group afterward.
Both teams walked away with wins on the first day of the Gatesville Fightin' Hornet Christmas Tournament. But for the coaches, it's not solely about the results from this week after teams returned from the holidays.
"There's going to be things that we break down on and there's going to be times where our shots are not falling like they were because we were off for five days, but the effort is where it has to be. There's no excuse for the effort," said White, whose Copperas Cove Bulldawgs held on to beat Brownwood and earn a split in pool play.
Gatesville boys coach Todd Shelton echoed White's thoughts even after his Hornets cruised to a pair of lopsided wins.
"Everybody either had one day (to practice) or no days, so you're up against the same elements as everybody else and you have to come out and play," said Shelton, who's Hornets beat Hico 75-41 and Gustine 72-40 to advance. "I could care less who wins the Gatesville Tournament. If we win it, cool. But it's about getting games and getting ready for district."
Cove finished second in Pool D, which included an 83-74 loss to Mexia that saw the Blackcats outscore Cove 22-13 in the fourth quarter. The teams were tied at 69-69 with 3:21 to play, but Mexia scored the next eight points to take control.
Cove (9-7) also had no answer for Mexia's Mister Carroll and D.J. Weathers, who combined for 60 points and did most of their damage off the dribble.
Against Brownwood, the Dawgs led 56-46 but didn't score in the final three minutes while the Lions cut the deficit to four.
"It's better because it's a 'W' versus an 'L,' but as far as us having a district ballgame in six days - no," White said.
Lampasas splits final two at tourney
The Badgers closed out their Cameron Christmas Classic experience with a 66-24 win over Lexington and a 46-45 loss to Giddings.
Secody Howard and Cullen Singleton each scored 12 and T.J. Adams added 11 in the Badgers (11-7) win over Lexington. Mason Murray hit two 3-pointers and scored 12 points to lead Lampasas against Giddings, which rallied from a 22-18 halftime deficit. Shonderius Howard added 10 and Secody Howard chipped in nine.
Copperas Cove 51, Waco Connally 27 - Jasmin Johnson hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points and the Lady Dawgs defense held Connally to just 12 points in the first three quarters to win their first-round game at the M.T. Rice Tournament. Cove (13-7) outscored the Cadets 15-2 in the first quarter, led 29-11 at halftime and then allowed just a single point in the third. Sarai Rodriquez hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 12 points.