COPPERAS COVE — Phillip Baptiste just completed a milestone season. Now, he is ready to do it again.
The Copperas Cove senior rewrote history during the football team’s run to a 10th consecutive playoff appearance, hauling in 113 catches for 1,556 yards and 17 touchdowns to eclipse the previous single-season records for receptions and receiving yards set by Rashad Hawk (50, 2006) and Charles Tillman (965, 1998), respectively.
With the football team’s postseason complete following a 67-21 loss to No. 2 DeSoto in the opening round, Baptiste, who earned a place on the District 8-5A All-District First Team Offense, turned his attention from the gridiron to the hardwood, where he is making an immediate impact for the Bulldawgs.
In his first significant action since joining the roster, Baptiste scored a team-high 20 points to help guide the Bulldawgs to a 92-79 home victory against La Vega on Tuesday.
After leading the football team to a 15th postseason appearance in the last 16 years, Baptiste is looking to begin a similar streak for the basketball program.
Last season, Copperas Cove (3-6 overall) returned to the playoffs for the first since 2008 before falling to No. 1 DeSoto in the bi-district round.
How does it feel to be in basketball mode now?
It feels great. This is a great team to be with. It is different than football. It is a different kind of running, but I’m getting into the motion, and it is a great feeling.
You were very aggressive on the floor. Is that just your style?
Coach (Billy White Jr.) said he needed me to drive and take it to the hole, so I executed and tried to do what he told me to do.
Leading the team in scoring right after returning is not a bad way to start.
I was just playing my game, and I let God do the rest.
What has the adjustment been like switching sports from football to basketball?
I’ve been with them since about a week ago. I’ve only played one, (La Vega) was my second game. … Last game, I was still learning the plays and getting into basketball shape.
So, I didn’t really get in the game that much. I didn’t play in the (McDonald’s Texas Invitational) tournament last week. (My first game back) was against Pflugerville.
Do you feel like you are getting into the swing of things, though?
Yeah, I’m in the motion now.