COPPERAS COVE — Ahead of visiting Killeen 31-19 at halftime, the locker room of the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs was vocal.
“Angel Mullen kept saying that I would be getting the ball,” said Cove 6-foot-1 senior center Bryaunea Hall. “I said, ‘OK, Angel, I’ll take that ball!’ I was happy that she said it.”
And Mullen, a 5-foot-4 passing wizard, meant it.
With the third quarter less than 90 seconds old, Mullen dribbled three-quarters court, drew a double team then fed Hall with a dazzling no-look pass for an easy lay-in.
“We seemed to be reading each others’ minds there,” Mullen said. “I had made up my mind early to give her that ball and it all just kind of happened.”
Then, 31 seconds later, it happened again.
Mullen dribbled into the paint, again drew an extra defender, then deftly fed Hall with a crafty bounce pass for another easy deuce.
“The idea was to get Bryaunea the ball,” Mullen said. “She had great energy, she wanted that ball and so I was ready to give it to her.”
Soon after those two Mullen-to-Hall buckets, Cove senior guard Brittany Gamble kicked out a swift pass to Mullen behind the 3-point line. Mullen didn’t hesitate.
“I heard my coach (Eldridge McAdams) say, ‘Sink it,’ and so I just shot it, it went in and that set the tone for everything else,” said Mullen, a junior. “I was really excited that shot went in.”
At that point, Cove led 40-23 and was never truly threatened the rest of the way. The Lady Bulldawgs led 44-32 after three quarters and eventually walked off their floor with a 63-48 district victory.
The Lady Roos record fell to 4-3 in district play (14-11 overall) and Cove improved to 3-5 (13-10 overall).
“Unity was the key tonight,” said Hall, who had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, all game-highs.
“We take good outside shots but we wanted to develop our inside game tonight, too, and we did that.”
“Bryaunea brings so much excitement to the game,” said Cove 5-foot-6 junior forward Mikayla Blount. “When we see her working so hard like she did tonight it lifts the rest of us up.”
Blount was also tenacious on the glass, grabbing nine rebounds. She also blocked three shots.
“I just make sure that, no matter what, I go for every 50-50 ball,” Blount said.
Behind Gamble’s six early points, Cove led 18-13 after one quarter.
“The key tonight was that we wanted to play good defense and I feel we did that,” Gamble said.
Cove played a 3-2 zone almost the entire game and it was effective.
“Because Killeen has such good shooters, we wanted to make sure we sealed off that 3-point line from them,” Gamble said.
Killeen was led in scoring by Shianne Johnson’s 10 points and teammate Ceida Williams had eight.
Mullen dished a game-high five assists and scored 10 points. Also for Cove, Pria Johnson, Kellie Faison and Alex Wilson scored three points apiece, Gamble nine and Blount eight.
“We knew that tonight was the start of the second half of district play,” said Mullen. “So we wanted to start off our second half of district play the right way — and we did that just fine.”
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his blog on KDHPressbox.com