Billy White Jr. learned his lesson.
In the first encounter with Midway, Copperas Cove’s head coach attempted to press the Panthers in hopes of forcing turnovers and triggering transition offense for his team. It did not work as Midway earned a 78-47 victory.
Friday night, however, White instructed his players to play man-to-man defense and slow down the game.
The Bulldawgs beat the Panthers 53-50 in a back-and-forth affair, and after the win, White admitted his original philosophy failed.
“Almost immediately after the game at Midway,” White said, “I knew we should have played it differently, so that is what we did tonight.”
Thanks in part to some late baskets from senior guard Devante Robinson and some strong team defense in the final minutes, Copperas Cove captured a much-needed victory.
Despite losing their first four games in District 12-6A play, the Bulldawgs pulled within a game of Midway and Ellison, which are tied for third place in the postseason race.
“This was a must-win game for us,” White said, “especially after losing to Ellison in overtime Tuesday.
“But the guys stepped up to the challenge and got it taken care of.”
Robinson scored a team-high 23 points for Copperas Cove, while teammates Malyk Thomas and Quinton Ford added 18 and seven points, respectively.
The Bulldawgs (13-15, 3-5) return to action Tuesday, traveling to face Harker Heights.
LOMETA 58, JONESBORO 44: At Jonesboro, the 20th-ranked Hornets used a strong second-half performance to beat Jonesboro.
Adrian Rivera and Ivan Jasso combined for 35 points.
“This was a tough, physical game,” said Lometa head coach Aaron Nuckles. “ Last year we went there and they handed it to us, so this was a big win for us.”
Lometa can clinch the district championship with a win Tuesday.
LAMPASAS 49, SALADO 35: At Salado, Nola Bishop scored 17 points and the Lady Badgers got their first district win.
Alexis Theus added 13 points for Lampasas (4-22, 1-6 25-4A), which outscored Salado in every period.
Gema Vitolas had eight points to lead Salado (11-18, 2-5).
Shoemaker 55, Harker Heights 42: At Harker Heights, Tija Hawkins scored 20 points and Kristen Nelson added 18 to help Shoemaker defeat Harker Heights.
Shoemaker led 24-11 at halftime.
“The kids played hard tonight,” said Shoemaker coach Michelle O’Neal. “Harker Heights made a great comeback on us in the second half, but our kids dug down deep and kept fighting.”
The win gave Shoemaker a one-game lead over Copperas Cove — which lost 68-33 at Midway — for the final 12-6A playoff berth. Both teams have two games remaining and meet on the final day of the season.
KILLEEN 1, TAYLOR 0: Teirra Norman scored on a header with 32:18 left in the first half, and Lady Roos keeper Le’Brittany Hodges made it stand up with eight saves in goal for the shutout.
Norman scored on a corner kick by Lexi Summers.
Mara Royse and Brooke Errington also contributed to the shutout effort for Killeen (4-2-3).
Other great play in the midfield came from Lauren Din, Taegan Buggeln and Alyssa Cabading.
WACO MIDWAY 8, HARKER HEIGHTS 0: At Midway, Harker Heights fell for the first time in league play.
Harker Heights (6-5-1) is now 1-1 in league play heading into its bye Tuesday. The Lady Knights return to action Friday when they host Shoemaker at 8 p.m.
ELLISON 6, SHOEMAKER 2: Ellison got goals from six different players, including David Navarro, Ahmad Holt and Alex Lee.
Michael Charlton and Erik Luna split time in goal for Ellison.
“We played well but we were a little out of synch when we gave up the two goals, said head coach Niles Dunnells. “We played hard tonight.”
CANYON LAKE 2, LAMPASAS 1: At Lampasas, the Badgers gave up a breakaway goal right before halftime before falling into a 2-0 hole in the second half.
Lampasas’ Ryan Woods finally put the Badgers on the scoreboard late in the match on a free kick, but they could not get any closer.