COPPERAS COVE — Eldridge McAdams was not sure what to expect.
Just days after capturing a playoff berth, Copperas Cove returned to the court for its final home game of the season, so before facing visiting Harker Heights, the Lady Bulldawgs head coach reminded his players to focus.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” McAdams said. “I was kind of skeptical about how they play after securing that playoff spot, so I told the girls that it was important to keep moving up the ladder.
“We just didn’t want to take any steps back.”
Copperas Cove accomplished its goal.
After going back and for with the Lady Knights for a majority of the contest, the Lady Bulldawgs recorded 10 of the game’s final 13 points en route to a 53-47 victory.
With less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation, however, the outcome remained uncertain.
Copperas Cove (25-8, 9-4 District 8-6A) entered the final period with a 39-32 advantage, but Harker Heights used a 12-4 outburst to create a 44-43 lead with 5 minutes remaining in regulation.
Little changed in the following moments with the Lady Bulldawgs holding a 48-47 lead with 60 seconds left on the clock before increasing it by a point 10 seconds later.
But Copperas Cove scored its final four points at the free-throw line as Madison Griffon and teammate Erica Powell each made a pair of free throws in the contest’s last 22 seconds to create the final margin.
“We were trying to do much,” McAdams said. “We were trying to go for the home run, and we just needed to pass the ball around and break their press, and that’s what we did.
“We made a couple clutch free throws down the stretch, got some defensive stops that we needed and got some rebounds that secured it for us.”
Griffon finished with a team-high 13 points, while teammate Madisen Honea contributed a dozen points. Additionally, Powell scored
nine points, and sophomore forward Kaysha McCloud had six points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Bulldawgs.
The outings helped ruin an impressive shooting performance from Harker Heights sophomore Destiny Pemberton. The guard made 6 of 8 3-point attempts en route to a game-high 20 points.
Copperas Cove scored the first seven points of the night, but the Lady Knights responded with an 8-0 run.
From then on, the teams exchanged runs with the Lady Bulldawgs taking slim 25-24 lead into halftime.
The loss officially eliminates Harker Heights from playoff contention after the Lady Knights’ district record fell to 4-8 with just one game remaining in the regular season.
Copperas Cove plays its final game before the postseason at Killeen on Tuesday.
“Any little things we can work on or tweak or get better at,” McAdams said, “we need to.
“We don’t want to go backwards in anything we’re doing.”
Friday’s 8-6A Girls Scores
- Copperas Cove 53, Harker Heights 47
- Ellison 60, Killeen 46
- San Angelo Central 43, Belton 31
- Waco Midway 46, Shoemaker 20
- San Angelo Central at Waco Midway, 6
- Ellison at Belton, 7 p.m.
- Copperas Cove at Killeen, 7 p.m.
- Shoemaker at Harker Heights, 7 p.m.