COPPERAS COVE — Erica Powell had one objective — contribute.
After foul trouble limited her minutes, Copperas Cove’s senior was anxious to get off the bench as she watched Killeen rally to take a fourth-quarter lead after trailing for a majority of the game.
But Powell would not be denied.
The forward scored eight of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a successful and-1 play with less than two minutes remaining, propelling the Class 6A No. 21 Lady Bulldawgs to a 67-56 victory.
Following the win, Powell admitted she felt compelled to produce late in the contest.
“I just had to get after it,” she said. “When I was on the bench, I was so eager to play, but I couldn’t put myself in the game. I had to wait for Coach to put me in.
“So, when I got in, I had to make the best of it.”
With 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Copperas Cove (22-5, 6-1 District 8-6A) found itself trailing 54-53 before scoring three consecutive points, culminating with Powell’s free throw.
Then, everything changed as Powell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback, and the ensuing free throw created a five-point cushion, 59-54, for the Lady Bulldawgs.
But the deficit felt much larger, according to Killeen head coach Jennifer Graham.
“Any time a kid gets an and-1,” she said, “it turns everything around.
“The crowd gets hyped, the kids get hyped, that player gets hyped up, and it puts a sense of urgency on our end. Then, we just started rushing a lot.”
With time expiring, the Lady Kangaroos were forced to foul, and Copperas Cove capitalized, scoring the game’s next eight points at the free-throw line before Killeen senior Jaida Burkes ended the streak with a late layup.
The Lady Bulldawgs scored the first eight points of the game, but the Lady Kangaroos tied the contest 11-11 by the end of the opening period. Killeen (12-11, 3-4) held its first lead at 15-13 and tied the score again at 17-17, but Copperas Cove closed the half on a 12-5 outburst.
The Lady Kangaroos trailed 39-31 in the third quarter but climbed back by using a 18-4 run bridging into the fourth quarter to go ahead 49-43.
But Copperas Cove erased the deficit, tying the game 54-54 and setting the stage for Powell, who also finished with eight rebounds, to take control.
“I like bringing Erica off the bench,” Copperas Cove head coach Eldridge McAdams said, “because we she comes in, we go to a different level.
“She brings energy, she rebounds — she does it all.”
Lady Bulldawgs sophomore Madisen Honea, who made eight late free throws in the win, complemented Powell’s outing with 13 points, while teammate Madison Griffon added a dozen points. Additionally, forward Kaysha McCloud and guard Mariyah Reynolds contributed nine points apiece and combined for 13 rebounds, helping to spoil a game-high 17-point outing by Killeen junior Cierra Penn.
Moving forward, Powell believes it will take similar team efforts to be successful.
“We have to step on the court and give everything we’ve got,” she said. “We can’t afford to overlook anyone or not play to our best abilities, because things are going to be tough.
“Teams are going to be coming after us.”
Friday’s 8-6A girls
- No. 21 Copperas Cove 67, Killeen 56
- No. 8 Ellison 34, Belton 29
- Harker Heights 53, Shoemaker 40
- No. 19 Waco Midway 44, San Angelo Central 30
- San Angelo Central at Shoemaker, 6 p.m.
- Belton at No. 21 Copperas Cove, 7 p.m.
- Killeen at Harker Heights, 7 p.m.
- No. 19 Waco Midway at No. 8 Ellison, 7 p.m.