COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove was bigger than its opponent, and the Lady Bulldawgs knew it.
Looking for a much-needed District 8-6A victory, Copperas Cove dominated Harker Heights in the paint, using its collective size to control the glass and score numerous second-chance points en route to a 49-25 win.
Following the game, Lady Bulldawgs forward Chyanne Chapman admitted the team simply relied on perhaps its greatest asset.
“Between Kayla McCloud, Dejhana Butler, Kaysha McCloud and myself,” the senior said, “we are bigger than most posts, so that is already an advantage.
“Then, we have abilities and moves that just adds to it.”
Behind the quartet of inside players, Copperas Cove finished with 39 rebounds, including 19 offensive, preventing the Lady Knights from ever posing a threat in the wire-to-wire victory.
Considering the makeup of his team, Lady Bulldawgs head coach Eldridge McAdams believes the key to climbing back into the playoff picture revolves around the players taking a similar mentality into every game.
“Looking at the district,” he said, “I think we have the best inside team, but a lot of times, we don’t have the desire to do it.
“Once we get it in our minds, though, it is hard to stop us.”
Copperas Cove (15-11, 2-4) was in control from the opening tip with Kaysha McCloud and Hunter scoring the game’s first four points on putbacks, spurring a 9-0 run.
By the end of the period, the Lady Bulldawgs already tallied 13 rebounds, and by halftime, they held a 20-8 advantage in the category and a 28-9 lead on the scoreboard.
“Their inside play absolutely broke us,” Harker Heights head coach Shirretha Nelson said. “They were bigger, they got in position, they outjumped us, and they got the rebounds.
“A lot of their points came from under the basket and in the lane, so if we could have just rebounded, it would have really helped.”
Chapman almost single-handedly outperformed the Lady Knights, who totaled 15 rebounds, finishing with a game-high 14 rebounds to go with 10 points, while teammate Kayla McCloud added 14 points and six rebounds.
Additionally, four other Copperas Cove players — Jayda Carter, Kaysha McCloud, Oni Boodoo and Butler — recorded at least three rebounds in the win.
As a veteran on the team, Chapman made sure she set the tone.
“I wanted everyone to follow my lead,” she said. “I knew rebounding and putting back shots would be vital.”
Harker Heights (4-11, 0-6) was led offensively by junior Kiara Young and freshman Destiny Pemberton, who finished with six points apiece, while teammate Celise Bobbitt, a freshman, added five points and three rebounds.
While the loss drops the Lady Knights three games behind fourth-place Belton in the standings, Copperas Cove moved within a game of breaking into the playoff picture.
“This was big,” McAdams said, “especially after coming off two losses in a row.
“We have to get the ones we’re supposed to get, and then make sure we compete in the other ones, because you never know what is going to happen.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org