By Nick Talbot
The Cove Herald
Down by five points going into the fourth quarter, Sarai and her sister, Alex, knew what they needed to do - step up and lead.
Sarai and Alex Rodriguez combined to hit three 3-pointers and score all 17 of the Lady Bulldawgs' fourth quarter points Tuesday as Copperas Cove rallied past Shoemaker 47-43 at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
"We really started off sluggish, up until the third quarter," Sarai Rodriguez said. "Then those kind of shots can really change the momentum. Then the whole team started to get involved and it was just done."
Alex Rodriguez added: "I think the team follows whenever we lead and we have to come out and bring it. Whenever we do, they can get behind us and come together as a team."
Copperas Cove's Sarai Rodriguez dropped the first two 3s to cut the Shoemaker lead to 37-36. And Alex Rodriguez followed those two with her third of the game to put the Lady Bulldawgs up four.
"Those were huge," Durham said. "That is momentum. We are down three and then all of a sudden we are up four or five and it is such a quick turnaround. When we get going, we do present problems for people. We are not big, but when we move and shoot the ball well, we can be a problem."
After that the two sisters went a combined 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to seal the victory for Copperas Cove.
"We struggled a little bit in the beginning, just trying to rush things and not getting into offensive sets," said Copperas Cove coach Theresa Durham. "They just need to relax and toward the middle and the end, they did that."
Alex Rodriguez hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to keep the game tied at 10-10. However, Shoemaker post Cion Hicks scored seven points in the second quarter and Shoemaker had a narrow 19-18 lead going into the half.
Kiara Rawls drilled a 3-pointer to open the third quarter then dribbled the length of the court and hit a pull up jumper as time expired in the quarter to put Shoemaker up 35-30.
It was last time she got a good look at the basket. Cove shutdown Rawls in the fourth quarter, denying her the entry passes she needed.
"We were not for sure if we could (shut her down)," Durham said. "We worked on denying that pass or getting a hand in her face. The kids worked really hard this week to make that adjustment and see if we could get it done.
"I just think the kids did a good job of jumping in and out of things quickly."
The offensive load fell on Hicks, who along with Rawls led Shoemaker with 13 points and Hailee Showers, who added 10 points and led the team with 12 rebounds. However, the rest of the Lady Grey Wolves' offense never clicked.
"We need to come together as a team and we don't," said Shoemaker coach Shuana Showers. "When we play together as a team and move the ball on offense, we do well and when we don't that is what we get."
Lady Dawgs fall to A&M Consol.
A pair of key runs ran the Copperas Cove Lady Bulldawgs out of their own building.
Tied at 8-8 late in the first quarter, A&M Consolidated broke off a 14-1 run that lasted until a little more than three minutes remained in the half Friday and put away the host Lady Dawgs with a 17-4 run in the second half en route to a 63-33 win.
"I really thought it might have been more competitive than what it was," said Durham. "We didn't score, the shots we normally make weren't falling and the defense was a step late on everything.
"Part of it was we weren't playing very well, but part of it is that A&M Consolidated is a very good team .. and we just didn't get it done tonight."
Copperas Cove (started the game well, getting 3-pointers from Sarai Rodriguez and Jasmin Johnson. But, from there on out, couldn't find a shot, a rhythm or seemingly a prayer.
The usually sharp-shooting Lady Dawgs only shot 27 percent from the floor - despite hitting 5-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We absolutely feel like we have to hold people under 45 points, because we are not going to score 60 or more points every night," said A&M Consolidated coach Karen Heintz.
Friday the Lady Tigers did, after a poor-shooting first half - A&M Consolidated rebounded, hitting 7-of-11 from 3-point range and 45 percent from the field.
"We only hit 24 percent in the first half ... but we shoot for a half an hour every day and it doesn't always show, but we work hard at it," Heintz said.
Rodriguez buried a 3-pointer to end the 14-1 Consolidated run late in the second quarter and Johnson added another early in the third to cut the Lady Tigers' lead to 28-22, but again Consolidated (19-6, 5-0) went on a run.
This time, Blair Schaefer hit a pair of 3s and the Lady Tigers outscored Copperas Cove 13-4 to close out the third quarter. It only got worse from there as the dormant Cove offense only scored six points in the fourth quarter, while the Lady Tigers offense, which had actually struggled early, went on a tear, ripping off 22 points in the closing frame.
"The kids really wanted to come out and play hard tonight and I think we just have to handle pressure and I think we got a little too tight and we started to press too hard," Durham said. "It's just growing pains."
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569.