By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Down by five points going into the fourth quarter, Sarai and her sister, Alex, knew what they needed to do - step up and lead.
Sarai and Alex Rodriguez combined to hit three 3-pointers and score all 17 of the Lady Bulldawgs' fourth quarter points Tuesday as Copperas Cove rallied past Shoemaker 47-43 at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
"We really started off sluggish, up until the third quarter," Sarai Rodriguez said. "Then those kind of shots can really change the momentum. Then the whole team started to get involved and it was just done."
Alex Rodriguez added: "I think the team follows whenever we lead and we have to come out and bring it. Whenever we do, they can get behind us and come together as a team."
Copperas Cove's Sarai Rodriguez dropped the first two 3s to cut the Shoemaker lead to 37-36. And Alex Rodriguez followed those two with her third of the game to put the Lady Bulldawgs up four.
"Those were huge," Durham said. "That is momentum. We are down three and then all of a sudden we are up four or five and it is such a quick turnaround. When we get going, we do present problems for people. We are not big, but when we move and shoot the ball well, we can be a problem."
After that the two sisters went a combined 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to seal the victory for Copperas Cove.
"We struggled a little bit in the beginning, just trying to rush things and not getting into offensive sets," said Copperas Cove coach Theresa Durham. "They just need to relax and toward the middle and the end, they did that."
Alex Rodriguez hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to keep the game tied at 10-10. However, Shoemaker post Cion Hicks scored seven points in the second quarter and Shoemaker had a narrow 19-18 lead going into the half.
Kiara Rawls drilled a 3-pointer to open the third quarter then dribbled the length of the court and hit a pull up jumper as time expired in the quarter to put Shoemaker up 35-30.
It was last time she got a good look at the basket. Cove shutdown Rawls in the fourth quarter, denying her the entry passes she needed.
"We were not for sure if we could (shut her down)," Durham said. "We worked on denying that pass or getting a hand in her face. The kids worked really hard this week to make that adjustment and see if we could get it done.
"I just think the kids did a good job of jumping in and out of things quickly."
The offensive load fell on Hicks, who along with Rawls led Shoemaker with 13 points and Hailee Showers, who added 10 points and led the team with 12 rebounds. However, the rest of the Lady Grey Wolves' offense never clicked.
"We need to come together as a team and we don't," said Shoemaker coach Shuana Showers. "When we play together as a team and move the ball on offense, we do well and when we don't that is what we get."