Copperas Cove earned a much-needed victory Friday night, beating Belton 66-41 to stay in the thick of the District 8-5A playoff race with five games remaining in the regular season.
Bulldawgs junior Chance Smith finished with 16 points and four rebounds, but his third-quarter performance propelled his team to victory. Smith was 7-of-7 shooting in the period, scoring 14 of the teams 26 points in the quarter, building a 50-35 lead after being tied 32-32.
The Bulldawgs (13-13, 4-5) travel to Ellison on Tuesday.
How do you feel the team played overall against the Tigers?
We played really good. We had to pick it up in the second half. We were a little down in the first and second quarters, so we had to pick it up. Coach talked to us and got us in the right mindset, and we went out and did well and got the “W.”
What do you think led to the team’s slow start?
I think we were just tired. We were lacking intensity. We were only up by three at halftime, so we had to pick it up. We had to beat Belton. If we are going to go to the playoffs, we had to win.
You had a huge third quarter. How did you feel out there?
I just felt like I had to pick it up for the team. I felt that if I shot the shot I usually shoot, and I make it, then it will help my team score more and more points, so we can win. That’s about it.
When you came out from halftime, did you tell yourself that you needed to step up?
Yes, my first two quarters did not go the way I wanted them to. I was missing layups, so I felt I had to go out and prove to myself that I could do what I do in practice and put it on the court.
In addition to you getting hot, what allowed the team to build a 50-35 lead in the third quarter after being tied 32-32?
We came out with a bang. We had to pick up the intensity. Rashard Odomes helped me out. He’d give me an assist, and I’d give him an assist, so I felt like me and Rashard really did that.
What is it about you two that allows you to have that type of chemistry?
That’s my best friend, so I stay with him 24-7. I know him, he knows me, so we’ve just got that chemistry on the court where it is not too hard. Me and him, we see eye to eye.
Obviously, you are still trying to secure a playoff berth. How do you feel about where you are positioned in the standings and your chances to make a run against the teams you have left?
We are doing good right now, but we need to step our game up and win out these last five games. We’ve got to win out so we can go to the playoffs and get a championship.
Well, next up is Ellison. What type of game are you expecting?
We’re going to have to ball. We’ve got to work hard to get the rebounds, box out and get our shots.