COPPERAS COVE — Temple’s comeback attempt fell short, and Copperas Cove’s playoff hopes remain alive.
Needing to avoid a misstep against District 12-6A’s last-place team, the Bulldawgs held on for a 52-50 victory to remain right in the hunt for the final postseason berth.
But it was not easy.
Copperas Cove thrived at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of its 14 points, including the game’s final point with 7.3 seconds remaining.
J’Don Garcia attempted a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer for Temple, but it did not connect, leaving the Wildcats just shy of completing a 17-point comeback.
The Bulldawgs allowed the first two points of the game, but they dominated the remainder of the half.
Copperas Cove (19-14, 6-8) responded to Temple senior Gage Smith’s initial free throws with 10 unanswered points to take control of the contest, and the lead grew to 17-8 by the close of the quarter. The Bulldawgs made 3 of 5 3-point attempts in the period.
Then, Copperas Cove pushed its advantage to 32-15, but the Wildcats closed the half by recording eight of the final 10 points to pull within 11 points, 34-23. The run was highlighted by Garcia’s steal and successful and-1 play at the buzzer.
In the third quarter, Temple (9-22, 3-12) outscored the Bulldawgs 14-4 to propel it back into contention.
Already eliminated from the playoffs, Smith scored 14 points to lead the Wildcats, while teammate Quinton Johnston added 12 points and five rebounds.
Copperas Cove senior Quinton Ford finished with a game-high 16 points to go with 15 rebounds, and Tyrese Taylor contributed an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in the win.
The Bulldawgs will look to continue their push into the playoffs Friday, when they host Belton, and Temple closes its season at Harker Heights.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Copperas Cove 52, Temple 50
- No. 16 Shoemaker 65, Harker Heights 51
- Waco 56, Killeen 54
- Waco Midway 60, Belton 35