By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – Both Copperas Cove and Shoemaker entered the season with plenty of inexperience on each roster.
But there is a difference between the Lady Bulldawgs and the Lady Grey Wolves, and it showed in Cove's 75-35 win Tuesday over Shoemaker.
Cove's 12-player rotation is comprised of seven seniors and five juniors, all of whom were either returning varsity lettermen or on the Lady Bulldawgs' undefeated junior varsity last year.
Shoemaker on the other hand, started two freshmen (Hailee Showers and Teara Roberson) and a sophomore point guard (Kiara Rawls). A third freshman – post Cion Hicks – even joined Showers and Roberson on the court during stretches, giving the Lady Grey Wolves three players on the court at the same time who last season were in middle school.
"We're really young and we make really-young mistakes," Shoemaker coach Shauna Showers said.
Cove's defense contributed to Shoemaker's mistakes as well, which totaled 28 turnovers (17 in the first half) and just 26 percent shooting from the floor. The Lady Grey Wolves (7-15, 0-6 District 12-5A) didn't challenge Cove much under the basket until the second half, and as a result, didn't shoot a free throw until two minutes into the third quarter.
"Defensively, we just kept up," Cove coach Richard Herbst said. "We held them to six in each of the first three quarters and when you hold people to that and you're efficient offensively, it's easy to spread it out and be more aggressive."
The Lady Dawgs (16-9, 4-2) were in the control from the start, with Shoemaker's only tie being 2-2 after Rawls followed a Shina McCoun jumper. Cove then scored the next seven points before Rawls converted again, and the Lady Dawgs finished the quarter on a 11-2 run. After the first quarter, Shoemaker had more turnovers (nine) than points (six).
"I really thought it was the defensive part," Herbst said. "We rebounded well, we transitioned well and we didn't get them many good shots."
Cove stretched its lead to 20 points in the second quarter, but had a scare when guard Jessica Best went down and left the game with an ankle injury, She didn't return and was on crutches with her right ankle wrapped.
The Lady Dawgs held Shoemaker to just six made first-half shots, with no 3-point attempts and no free throws. Cove registered 11 of its 17 steals in the first half, cutting off Lady Grey Wolves passes numerous times.
"The first half, we were playing very nonchalant and we weren't playing like we practiced, nor were we playing like we played Belton or A&M (Consolidated) or Bryan," Showers said. "It was not the same team that came out. I'm not sure – maybe the change of weather because it's getting warmer.
"I don't know, but we definitely did not play the first half like we did the last three games."
Desiree Nelson scored a game-high 17 points, while McCoun and Jasmine Baskin added 13 and 11, respectively. Rawls had 10 points to lead Shoemaker.
Contact Angel Verdejo at email@example.com or (254) 501-7564.