COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs extended their winning streak to six after defeating Austin LBJ 70-56 on Tuesday night behind 21 points from senior Justus Honea.
“The beauty of it is we have 10 seniors on this squad,” said Copperas Cove coach Billy White Jr. said, “so there’s guys who’ve been through it before, so they know what to expect. It’s just more of making sure that we’re healthy going forward.”
The Jaguars (8-2) were first on the board with a 3-pointer from junior forward Anthony Guyton. The Bulldawgs (10-1) responded with a point of their on the next play as senior guard Jyhlil Rice was sent to the free-throw line.
But it was a 3-pointer from senior center Daveon Thomas that tied up the score 4-4 early in the first.
LBJ sophomore guard Isiah Rector responded with a three of his own to push his team ahead once more.
Late in the second quarter, Cove senior forward Frank Alvarado tied it again with a layup asssisted by senior guard Tyrese Cooley.
The Bulldawgs took off after senior Justus Honea put up a shot before being fouled to extend Cove’s lead to 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Late in the second quarter Cove was able to surge further ahead with back-to-back 3 pointers from Honea and Alvarado.
LBJ answered with a layup from sophomore Jordan Teal to keep the Jaguars within 10.
“We’ve got to make sure we rebound the ball on the defensive end than what we did tonight,” White said. “Because with our district, with as athletic as they are, they’re going to crash the glass so we have to make sure that we don’t give up any second- and third-chance opportunities.
“The main thing that we would need to polish up before we hit the district season is just making sure we’re limiting teams to one shot.”
At the half, the Bulldawgs led 39-29.
Cove continued to increase the lead with an inbounds pass from Honea to Alvarado, who was posted under the basket.
The Jaguars stayed within 10 with a long pass down the court from sophomore guard Antwan McMillan to junior guard Brian Batts for an uncontested layup.
LBJ didn’t learn the first time though as Cove scored on the next play on another pass from Honea to Rice under the basket.
Late in the third quarter Honea added another assist with a pass to senior guard Neyland Block waiting deep on the outside for another 3.
“I just try to make open looks for my teammates,” Honea said.
“I know, all-in-all, my teammates will get it done for me, so if they cover me up, I’ll get it done for the team.”
With seconds left, Batts responded with a 3 of his own but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldawgs led 50-41 going into the last eight minutes of the game. The fourth quarter started with Rice finding Honea on the outside for his third and final 3-pointer of the night.
LBJ switched to full court man-to-man defense in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to slow down Cove.
“Well, with LBJ, they’re just an up-tempo, fast-paced team,” Honea said, “Basically, in our district, that’s what most teams are, so this win shows what we can do in our district.”
Batts led LBJ with 16 points.
Cooley (15 points) and Block (14) also scored in double figures for Cove.