By Kevin Posival
The Cove Herald
Before the Bulldawgs routed Waco Connally 79-47 in the fifth-place trophy game Tuesday, Ricardo Artis and Jonathan Bridges rallied Copperas Cove over Bastrop, 78-73, in overtime.
The duo scored Cove's final 12 points of regulation to force the extra period on Bridges' running floater with 20 seconds left. With the momentum, the Bulldawgs (11-8) outscored Bastrop 10-4 and forced six Bears' turnovers in the first three minutes of the extra period to take a 73-67 lead, and Bastrop never got any closer than five the rest of the way.
"We took them to overtime after we should've made a run at it. We let it slip away, (but) we didn't buckle, we kept playing and kept getting after it and took it to overtime," Copperas Cove coach Billy White said. "We had some things happen for us - the defense played well - got some steals and some easy baskets to pull it out."
Copperas Cove led by as many as 19 in the first half, but Bastrop took advantage of Cove's third-quarter collapse, outscoring the Bulldawgs 22-6 in the period to take a 47-43 lead into the fourth.
Juwan Rice, who scored a game-high 15 points, converted 7-of-8 technical free throws in the game. Artis and Bridges each contributed 14.
Myron Taylor led the Bulldawgs against Connally with 15 points. Rice scored 13 and Artis 10. Five others scored at least six points in the win.
Cove's starters played just the first 61 seconds of the trophy game before White pulled them, unhappy with their intensity. The reserves made seven of their first eight shots, including four 3s, to take an 18-8 lead with 3:44 left in the first.
Cove hit 12 treys in the game, including eight in the first half.
When all of the five starters finally reentered with six minutes left in the first half, Cove was up 17-32 and Waco Connally never got any closer than that.
"With both of them (Tuesday's games), we're just trying to make sure that we're getting what we need to get done and taken care of," White said. "We've got to make sure we're going out there, playing hard, playing ourselves back into shape after having those five days off."
Copperas Cove splits on Monday - After rallying to beat Waco University in their tournament opener, the Bulldawgs scored just four points in the fourth quarter in their second-round loss to Austin McCallum, spoiling a 13-point first-quarter lead and another rally opportunity.
"We just came out and the first group really didn't play, and if you don't play, that type of stuff is going to happen," Copperas Cove coach Billy White said. "The second quarter came in, gave us a spark. got some things going, played well, got us back in the game ... they just ran out of gas."
During the four-minute stretch between Cove's first and last fourth-quarter field goal, McCallum scored 14 to stretch its one-point lead to a 15-point lead and a 78-63 tournament quarterfinal win.
The Bulldawgs (9-8) beat Waco University, 82-74, in their first-round game.
McCallum hit nine of its first 12 shots in the second quarter to erase the Bulldawgs' early lead. The Knights outscored Cove 32-16 in the second to lead 46-43 at halftime and then scored eight unanswered to start the third to stretch the lead to 11.
Cove rallied in the second half of the third to take a 59-57 lead into the fourth as McCallum hit just one shot in the final five minutes of the third. Deion Robinson finished with 19 points for Cove, including 10 in the first quarter that turned a 15-12 Dawgs' lead to 25-12, thanks to back-to-back McCallum technicals.
Juwan Rice scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Ricardo Artis scored a team-high 18 points, giving the Bulldawgs an opening-round win over Waco University.
Robert King also scored 17, Jonathan Bridges added 14 and Cory Scott had 10 points for the Dawgs, who trailed 22-19 after the first quarter, but pulled away in the second for a 36-33 lead at halftime and a 55-50 lead before the fourth quarter.
Find more Copperas Cove basketball coverage at KDH Pressbox.com and in the Killeen Daily Herald. Get updates on Twitter at KDHsports.