Tigers hang on for win against Bulldawgs
Sunday, 06 January 2013 by Tony Adams
Copperas Cove made the road trip to Belton Friday night full well knowing that it was going to be a dogfight from start to finish.
Thanks to Cove's resiliency, it ended up being an exciting game.
The Bulldawgs survived an early 17-point deficit and rallied to take the Belton Tigers to overtime, and then fall to the Tigers 72-66 at Tiger Gym.
The Tigers jumped on Cove from the tip off. Braden Hammond and Coby Potvin led a charge that put Belton on top 14-0 three minutes in.
"I started off really good and the leveled off a bit," said Potvin. "I think I played pretty good."
Montrae Williams and Rashard Odomes got the Bulldawgs on the board in consecutive possessions. Daniel Mills would trade baskets with Odomes and then Tyler Wilson. Cove trailed after the first quarter 24-13.
"Belton came out on fire," said Cove coach Billy White. "They went on that 14-0 run and the score was at 19-4. They were hitting. We were missing. We needed to regroup and focus."
The Bulldawgs whittled away at the Tigers lead, reducing the lead to a two-point lead with 2:21. Williams, Odomes, Deion Robinson, Jacob Peart and Rashaun Gibson all contributed in the reduction of the Belton lead. After trading free throws, a Thomas Barnes field goal gave the Tigers a 34-30 lead at halftime.
"We knew what we had to do from a defensive standpoint tonight and the kids went out and executed it," said coach Charlie Lewis. "The fouls allowed Cove to get back into the game. They are great free throw shooters and they don't miss."
After Mills and Hammond extended Belton's lead back to 10 points with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter, Cory Scott touched up the Tigers for 10 of Cove's 18-third quarter points. Scott's hot hand sent Cove on a 16-6 run to even the game up 48-48 at the end of the third stanza.
The fourth quarter seesawed back and forth. Mills and Hammond would trade baskets with Scott and Odomes to even the score at 52-52. However, a personal foul and technical foul on Cove's Cedric Carlisle resulted in Mills hitting four consecutive free throws and a 56-52 Belton lead with 2:29 to play. Odomes and Wilson hit consecutive jumpers to re-tie the game at 56-56 with 2:05 to play. Neither team scored again in regulation.
Mills took the game in hand for Belton in the overtime session. Scoring 10 of the Tigers 16 overtime points, Mills was getting fed from all over the court. Scott drained a pair of three-pointers in the overtime session, but it was not enough as Cove fell to the Tigers.
Mills had a game-high 29 points, going 15-of-15 from the free throw line.
And what does MIlls attribute his successful free throw shooting to? McDonalds.
"When I was younger, it was my favorite place to eat," Mills said. "My dad used to take me McDonalds whenever I'd hit 10 out of 10 free throws or 20 in a row. If I didn't get it, he wouldn't take me."
Hammond had 21 points for the Tigers.
"It feels really good to be able to come out and help my team more," said Hammond. "I'm helping in contributing to the scheme and to help out Daniel, as well."
Scott had 24 points for Cove, including 18 points from the three-point arc. Robinson had 10 points for the Bulldawgs. Though Cove did take the Tigers to overtime, they never had a lead in the game.
For a game played five days before Christmas and the game to have originally been at Cove, the Belton faithful turned out to capacity and it was felt on the floor in a big way.
"For us not having the cheerleaders and Magic Belles on the floor tonight," said Lewis. "And to have our administration and educators cheering in the crowd for us...it was unbelievable! Our varsity girls' basketball team leading the 'We Believe!' cheers was amazing."