It was a victory, but Nasir Kirk did not believe it was worth celebrating.
The Shoemaker guard scored a game-high 31 points as the Grey Wolves bounced back from a loss at No. 25 Waco Midway to defeat Copperas Cove 67-61 on Tuesday for the program’s fourth win in five games.
The outcome was not as important as how it was attained, though.
Trailing 61-41 in the fourth quarter, the Bulldawgs rallied to pull within six points within the final three minutes, and while Shoemaker evaded defeat, Kirk could not avoid disappointment.
“A win is a win,” the senior said, “and it’s always good to win, but to be up by 20 points in the fourth quarter and let them come back is unacceptable.
“That is something we can’t let happen again.”
After taking a 10-point advantage, 27-17, into halftime, the Grey Wolves opened the third quarter with eight unanswered points to take complete control, and there was little Copperas Cove could do.
The cushion swelled to 51-27 by the end of the period, and with approximately five minutes remaining, Shoemaker (12-12, 4-2 District 12-6A) maintained a comfortable 61-41 lead.
Then, the Bulldawgs found their rhythm.
With senior Isaiah Sobers recording 11 of his team-high 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter, Copperas Cove (14-10, 2-3) used a 14-0 run to trim the deficit to eight points. Sobers made a shot with less than 30 seconds remaining to create a five-point game, 66-61, but the comeback attempt ended there.
“You want to force teams to play your way,” Copperas Cove head coach Travis Boyce Jr. said, “and Shoemaker did a great job of making us play their style of basketball for three and a half quarters until we finally started playing.
“We made a dent in the score and possibly had an opportunity to win the game at the end, but it was too little too late. We have to start taking care of business a lot sooner.”
Damond Daniels complemented Kirk’s outing by tallying all 11 of his points in the second half as 10 players scored for Shoemaker, while sophomore post Henri Vizcarrondo pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
For the Bulldawgs, Lakyi Ellison had 10 points and four rebounds, and Ahmad Pierce and Jerome Gaillard added eight and seven points, respectively, combining for 13 points during the fourth quarter.
Now, the Grey Wolves look to build on the victory Friday, when they travel to play Harker Heights after the Knights were idle Tuesday.
Kirk believes, however, Shoemaker will enter the game having learned a lesson.
“No team is going to just lay down,” he said. “Everybody in the district wants to win, and nobody is going to be OK with a loss.
“We just can’t let this happen again.”
SHOEMAKER 67, COPPERAS COVE 61
Copperas Cove (61)
Sobers 20, Ellison 10, Pierce 8, Gaillard 7, Carter 4, Anderson 4, Fleming 4.
Kirk 31, Daniels 11, Gonzales 5, Galloway 4, Herrera 4, Vizcarrondo 4, Hudson 2, Hollins 2, Owens 2.
Copperas Cove 11 6 10 34—61
Shoemaker 17 10 24 16—67
3-Point Goals—Copperas Cove 4 (Sobers 3, Pierce), Shoemaker 2 (Kirk, Gonzales). Free Throws—Copperas Cove 11-19, Shoemaker 19-26. Fouled Out—None. Total Fouls—Copperas Cove 21, Shoemaker 21. Technicals—None.
Records—Copperas Cove 14-10, 2-3 12-6A; Shoemaker 12-12, 4-2.
TUESDAY'S 12-6A BOYS BASKETBALL
- Belton 78, Waco 72
- Ellison 78, Killeen 46
- Shoemaker 67, Copperas Cove 61
- Temple 60, Waco Midway 55
- BYE: Harker Heights
12-6A BOYS STANDINGS
Waco Midway (4-1)
Copperas Cove (2-3)
Harker Heights (1-4)