MARBLE FALLS — Tyrese Taylor led Copperas Cove to victory, and he intends to do it again.
With a berth in the final of the Subway Classic lingering, the Bulldawgs forward was almost flawless from the floor, missing just four shots en route to 28 points as Copperas Cove defeated Class 4A No. 6 Liberty Hill 72-56.
Along with connecting on 13 of 17 field-goal attempts, Taylor collected 11 rebounds, and following the win, he admitted wanting to recreate similar double-doubles for the duration of the season.
“I just want to make that a regular thing,” the 6-foot, 7-inch senior said. “I hope everybody gets to see a lot more of that.”
Taylor made 7 of 8 shots in the first half as the Bulldawgs built a 41-36 advantage against the Panthers, and after the break, he help put the game out of reach as Copperas Cove used a 12-3 outburst to close the third quarter, creating a 57-43 cushion.
Aided by 14 points apiece from teammates Quinton Ford and Maurice Toney, the victory propels the Bulldawgs into a rematch with Hutto for the tournament championship today at 2:30 p.m., when Taylor will look to extend his recent dominance.
During the past four games, Taylor scored 71 points and grabbed 64 rebounds, including a 14-point, 14-rebound outing against the Hippos in a 76-62 loss to open pool play.
“He’s playing the way he needs to play,” Copperas Cove head coach Travis Boyce Jr. said. “He’s dominating the glass, and he’s doing it on a more consistent basis.
“He’s a very skilled big man, even though a lot of people just look at him as a big man. He can stretch the floor and hit jump shots at times, but his size, girth, strength and the work he has put in is really helping him around the rim.”
Earlier in the day, the Bulldawgs completed a 2-1 showing in pool play by beating Leander Glenn 63-50 behind Ford’s team-high 33 points and eight rebounds. Additionally, Taylor finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Although Copperas Cove (5-4) is focused on today’s title game, Boyce is already turning his attention toward District 12-6A competition.
“Glenn is similar to a Killeen-area school because they are very athletic,” he said, “while Liberty Hill is more like Waco Midway or Belton.
“So, I feel like we got to see a little bit of what it is going to be like in district.”
The Bulldawgs open district Tuesday at home against Killeen, and Taylor hopes to be riding a wave of momentum into the contest by winning the championship.
“We have a lot of guys on the team who are new to varsity,” he said, “and winning is good for them, because they are learning about how to close games.
“When district comes, hopefully it is second nature. It shouldn’t be a new feeling.”
Boyce, however, simply wants to see his team show improvement against Hutto.
“They beat us,” he said, “and there were some things in that game we need to clean up and fix. So, I want to take care of that stuff when we play again.”
FRIDAY’S BOYS BASKETBALL
- Lampasas 53, Junction 45
Corpus Christi Coaches Association Tournament
- Harker Heights 48, New Braunfels 36
Georgetown Jack Frost Tournament
- No. 5 Lake Travis 66, Belton 45
- Leander 56, Belton 54
- Rogers 49, Florence 38
Mansfield ISD tournament
- No. 17 Shoemaker 58, 5A-No. 3 Alvin Shadow Creek 54
- Sulphur Springs 59, Ellison 55, OT
- Ellison 55, EP Burges 50
- No. 9 North Crowley 54, No. 17 Shoemaker 36
Marble Falls Subway Classic
- Copperas Cove 63, Leander Glenn 50
- Copperas Cove 72, 4A-No. 6 Liberty Hill 56
Salado Coach Smith Tournament
- Salado 75, Caldwell 43
- Gatesville 65, Jarrell 59
South San Antonio ISD tournament
- Killeen 75, EP Bowie 60
- 4A-No. 15 Dallas Faith Family 74, Killeen 65