COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove took the championship title at the 2017 Bush’s Chicken Tournament after beating Bel Air High School 51-43 on Saturday afternoon in the Dawg House.
Both teams got on the board due to early fouls and while Cove tried to break ahead Bel Air managed to tie the game twice late in the first quarter. The Lady Bulldawgs led the Highlanders 14-13 into the second quarter.
Cove controlled most of the second quarter, going on a 14-4 run behind two 3-pointers from junior point guard Maddie Griffon before Bel Air could cutthe Lady Dawgs’ lead to eight points before the half.
Although Bel Air was able to catch up to Cove late in the third quarter, the Lady Dawgs controlled the pace of the game.
Tempers ran high as a fight nearly erupted between Bel Air’s power forward Isabella Sedita and Cove’s Griffon with less than 30 seconds in the third.
Although Bel Air sent Cove to the free-throw line 32 times , the Lady Dawgs only made 50 percent of their shots, while the Highlanders
shot 79 percent at the line.
Those fouls added up for Bel Air, and Cove took the tournament championship title.
It may be early in the season but playing together as a team is what’s important for Cove, head coach Eldridge McAdams said.
“You can do all you want in practice, but until you get into a game situation, break down film, look at film, then you understand the things that’s going on,” he said.
“That’s one of the things we want to do — continue to play, continue to get after it and continue to improve.”
Cove plays a series of away games before returning home Dec. 12 to face District 8-6A rival Waco Midway.
Belton falls in third-place game
Belton faced San Antonio’s Stevens for third place in the tournament but fell to the Lady Falcons 45-40.
Stevens put the pressure on early in the first quarter and Belton often had to fight to get out of the backcourt.
The Lady Falcons eased up their defense in the second quarter which allowed Belton to gain better control of the game, but the Lady Tigers were still down by five at halftime.
Belton came out strong early in the third going on an 8-0 run before limiting Stevens to only four points in the last minute of the quarter as they led 30-25.
The pressure was back on as Stevens returned to their man-to-man coverage of Belton but the Lady Tigers maintained the lead for the first four minutes of the quarter.
With the remaining time, Stevens answered to regain the lead, held the Lady Tigers off on defense and ran the clock down to finish the victory.
Belton will face Pflugerville Connally on Tuesday at home.