By Nick Talbot and Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE – The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs ran out of gas.
After going up and down the floor for four quarters against the New Caney Eagles, they simply did not make enough shots to overcome the Eagles and fell 85-81 in the Gatesville Holiday Tournament's third-place game Tuesday.
Jake Strother hit five 3-pointers in the second half, including four in a stretch that saw the Eagles come back from a seven-point deficit to take a 76-73 lead with 2:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"We just did not knock shots down when we had the opportunity and they did," said Copperas Cove coach Billy White. "That was basically it. It was a minute-and-a-half stretch where we just did not do it."
Joe Cantrell buried another 3 and then converted a three-point play as New Caney managed to maintain its lead in the closing seconds.
Cove held the lead for the majority of the game, holding off several New Caney rallies. They were ahead 24-18 in the first, 43-38 near the half, and 66-59 in the third.
The Eagles came back and tied the game or came within a basket by the end of each of those quarters.
And when they went ahead in the fourth, the Bulldawgs did not have an answer.
The Bulldawgs (10-11) had five players in double figures but were led by Jonathan Bridges, who scored 16 points.
"I thought they did pretty good – especially coming off a six-day break where they did not do any running," White said. "The effort was there and that is one of the things we were looking for that was lacking before the break."
Bastrop defeated Liberty Hill 55-53 in the tournament's championship game.
Hornets lose consolation championship–For about a minute, it looked like the Gatesville Hornets were going to blow out Waco University for the Gatesville tournament's consolation tournament.
Thomas Weber hit four 3-pointers in the first half as the Hornets went up 23-13.
However, University went on a 15-3 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter and defeated Gatesville 49-46 to take home the tournament's consolation prize.
"I don't know if it was anything they did, but us not taking care of the ball and making some silly mistakes," said Gatesville coach Brian Edwards. "They hit some 3s, which got them back in the game.
"We probably got a little tired. We are not quite in shape yet with a couple of the guys just coming back."
Gatesville (7-10) managed to battle back in the third, thanks to back-to-back baskets from Weber, who led all scorers with 19 points.
His 3-pointer to begin the fourth put the Hornets ahead 35-30, but Jarrod Hall scored seven consecutive points for University and they took a 44-40 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth.
University then hit 5 of 6 of its free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
"I just felt like we gave it away," Edwards said. "We played our tempo and our style of game and did exactly what we wanted to do. Even late in the game … we were just not mentally thinking.
"… We made some mistakes and hopefully we will get better in the next couple of weeks."
Liberty Hill boys 58, Copperas Cove 51 – Antonio Clemons scored all but five of Cove's second-half points as the Bulldawgs couldn't keep pace with Michael Ferace and the Class 3A No. 10 Panthers.
All-state guard Ferace scored a game-high 26 points, had five steals and hit 12 of 18 free throws to lead the Panthers' into the tournament championship game.
Clemons, who was named to the all-tournament team and finished with a team-high 19 points, scored Cove's last six of the third quarter to keep the Bulldawgs within striking distance, 45-40, to start the fourth, and last nine of the fourth, including a layup with 1:18 left that cut the lead to 53-49.
After that, Liberty Hill hit five of 10 free throws on its five possessions while the Dawgs went scoreless.
Ridardo Artis, who scored 16 in the quarterfinals against Pflugerville Connally, scored 11 in the first half against Liberty Hill and left the game with three minutes left in fourth after an intentional foul by Ferace.
Gatesville boys 51, Jarrell 42 – Thomas Weber hit four first-half 3-pointers and scored a team-high 17 points to put the Hornets into the consolation bracket championship game.
Weber hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter that gave Gatesville a 24-7 lead four minutes before halftime. The Hornets led by 12 at intermission and by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but Daniel Tucker charged the No. 11 Cougars back in the fourth.
Tucker scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the final quarter and had the Cougars trailing just four with 58 seconds left in the fourth.
Gatesville hit five of 10 free throws in the final minute and Jarrell didn't score after Tucker's free throws.
Nardi Meyers scored nine for Gatesville, including two 3-pointers in the third quarter that put the Hornets up 13 to start the fourth after Jarrell had twice cut the lead to 10.
Mexia girls 47, Lampasas 43 – The Lady Badgers opened an 11½-minute window and Brittnea Jones led the Lady Cats through it. Jones scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half while the Lady Badgers went without a field goal to lead the Lady Cats back from a 12-point deficit and snap Lampasas' two-game winning streak that included a win over Comanche earlier in the day.
Lauren Barlow, who led the Lady Badgers (6-12) with 15 points, put Lampasas up 33-21 with 5:20 left in the third quarter on a three-point play but the Lady Badgers' scored just six points, all by Kayla Prescott from the free-throw line, until Barlow scored again on a layup with 1:46 left in the fourth.
Prescott, who converted two three-point plays in the second quarter to help Lampasas pull away early, finished with 14.
Lampasas girls 48, Comanche 43 – The Lady Badgers had three players finish with double-digit scores in their first game of the Gatesville
Holiday tournament, but it was their defense that upset Class 2A No. 13 Comanche.
Lauren Barlow scored a team-high 14 points, Madison Morris scored 11 and Kayla Prescott scored 10 for Lampasas, but the Lady Badgers held Comanche to just four third-quarter points that enabled the offense to rally for its second straight win.
Lampasas, which beat Marlin before the Christmas break to snap a five-game losing streak, scored 15 in the third to take an eight-point lead into fourth and held Comanche back long enough.
Ashley Roberts scored 19 for Comanche and Brooke Stewart scored eight but no one else on the team scored more than five.
Wimberley girls 46, Salado 32 – Hadley Joiner scored 10 for the No. 24 Lady Eagles, but the junior standout was in foul trouble much of the game and was one of three Salado players to foul out. Without depth – Salado only suited up three reserves – the Lady Eagles couldn't claw out of a 10-point halftime deficit.
Brennan Boydstun scored eight and Billi Pipes scored six for Salado (13-6).
Up 16-13, Wimberley went on an 11-4 run after Joiner sat with her third foul 5:40 before halftime and a 6-2 run after Joiner picked up her fourth foul a minute and half into the third quarter.
Eryn Barraso scored nine of game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter and Lea Watson scored nine of her 12 in the first to lead Wimberley.
Marlin girls 68, Salado 60 – Jasmine Armstead scored 28 points and helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to a fourth quarter rally to defeat the Lady Eagles.
Salado led 49-43 entering the fourth quarter, but was outscored 25-11.
Brennan Boydstun socred 24 points to lead Salado.
Brownwood girls 57, Gatesville 25 – Patrician Wilson scored 16 points and the Lady Lions controlled the game from the start as they defeated Gatesville and now play in the Gatesville tournament's championship game today at 4:30 p.m.
Brownwood went ahead 15-8 after the first quarter, 33-13 at the half and never looked back.
"I don't know what happened," said Gatesville coach Megan Simoneau.
"Earlier today (Tuesday) we played great and then came out and played like this."
McKamie Place led the Lady Hornets with 10 points.
Gatesville girls, Waco Connally 41 – McKamie Place hit a pair of 3- pointers, scored 25 points and helped the Lady Hornets come back from a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat the Lady Cadets and advance to the Gatesville tournament's championship bracket.
Gatesville outscored Waco Connally 22-5 in the fourth quarter to complete the turnaround.