Billy White Jr. is not pleased with his team’s district record. He is, however, happy with his team’s performance.
Copperas Cove has lost three of its first five District 8-5A games entering Tuesday’s road contest at Killeen, and while the Bulldawgs’ head coach would prefer to be undefeated, he is satisfied with where his team is at.
“We are a much better team than what our record shows,” he said. “We just have to make sure we regroup and go to work from here on out.”
Although White takes credit for his losses, admitting each was deserved, there is some merit to his belief.
Friday’s 11-point loss to Class 5A No. 14 Harker Heights aside, the Bulldawgs other two district losses this season have occurred by a combined four points as Temple earned a 56-53 upset over Copperas Cove, and Midway used a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to clinch a 63-62 victory.
Had the Bulldawgs won both contests, they would be tied with the Knights atop the district standings. Instead, Copperas Cove (11-11) finds itself in a familiar position, needing to produce a strong finish to the regular season in order to contend for a playoff berth.
Shoemaker, Ellison and Killeen sit behind the Knights in the standings with each sporting a 3-2 district record, while the Bulldawgs, Belton and Midway are all situated just outside the playoff picture at 2-3.
Last year, the Bulldawgs won six of their final seven games, including a four-game win streak to conclude district, to clinch their first postseason berth since 2008.
With the experience of having survived a similar situation before, White feels certain it can be accomplished again based on the recent fight his team showed against Harker Heights.
Despite trailing by double digits late in the second quarter, the Bulldawgs mounted a comeback, trimming the deficit to two points, 33-31, in the third quarter. The Knights quickly extended their advantage, going ahead 44-37 with 6:55 remaining.
Copperas Cove junior Chance Smith scored four consecutive points, but Harker Heights did not allow the Bulldawgs to get any closer as they used a 9-0 run to propel them to victory.
Nevertheless, White saw everything he wanted to see from his players to make him believe the Bulldawgs are capable of emerging from their highly-competitive district.
“Watching these kids get out there and battle, that is what it is about,” he said. “It is still early in the district season, but we’ve got to get it turned around pretty quickly, though. This is a tough district, and we’ve got to make sure we are ready to go.”