COPPERAS COVE — Prior to her home debut, Livonna Wallace yielded her teammates advice, and it paid off.
After spending last year on the junior varsity team, the guard was elevated to varsity this season, and she led Copperas Cove to a 58-34 victory against Leander in the first game at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
Coming off the bench, Wallace missed just three field-goal attempts en route to scoring a game-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers.
Although Wallace appeared calm on the court, initially, she was not.
“I was ready because it my first home game on varsity,” the senior said, “but I was kind of nervous. Everybody told me not to stress out, though, and just play.
“So, that’s what I did.”
And it helped blow the game wide open.
The Lady Bulldawgs took an 11-4 advantage into the second quarter, where Wallace accounted for nine of her points, including a pair of 3-pointers as Copperas Cove inflated its cushion to a dozen points, and the Lady Lions were never within single digits again.
Along with her offense, Wallace finished with five rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
“We need that from Livonna,” Copperas Cove first-year head coach Tiffney Barnes-Graham said, “and her teammates need to see that from her, so they can trust her.
“And she needs that for her confidence too, because she needs to know that she can provide that for us.”
Wallace, however, was not the only player to produce for the Lady Bulldawgs.
The senior tandem of Kaysha McCloud, a post, and guard Madisen Honea delivered 14 and 13 points, respectively, while junior guard A’Zariah Knotts added seven points. Honea also had four assists as Knotts (7) and McCloud (6) combined for 13 rebounds. With the victory, Copperas Cove improves to 2-0 on the young season with the annual three-day Bush’s Classic beginning Thursday.
“We just want to keep getting better and build more confidence within ourselves,” Barnes-Graham said. “We’re still on the edge, and we’re still afraid to take chances.
“This tournament should allow us to get a little more comfortable and just grow as a team.”
The nine-team tournament opens with two days of pool play, and the results will determine seeding for the final day, when each team will play one game.
The Lady Bulldawgs play Brenham (1 p.m.) and Del Valle (5:30 p.m.) on Thursday before facing Manor (1:30 p.m.) and Austin Anderson (6 p.m.) on Friday.
Like her coach, Wallace hopes the tournament ultimately provides more than a potential trophy.
“We want to accomplish our goal of building a bond,” she said. “We want to unite as a family and create chemistry on the floor.”
TUESDAY’S HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS SCORES
- Copperas Cove 58, Leander 34
- Crowley 48, Shoemaker 44
- Ellison def. 5A-No. 24 Bryan Rudder
- Harker Heights 56, No. 9 Pflugerville Hendrickson 36
- Lampasas 44, Kyle Lehman 32
- No. 4 Liberty Hill 63, Gatesville 53
- Pflugerville Connally 53, Belton 20
- Salado 41, No. 20 Lorena 39