Despite suffering a season-ending loss in the second round of the postseason, there was a lot for the Coppell Cowboys to hang their hat on.
In the second year under head coach Clint Schnell, they earned their way to their second consecutive outright title in a tough District 6-6A and also won their third consecutive bi-district title after Tuesday’s 80-46 win over V.R. Eaton.
But the No. 24 Cowboys’ season ultimately came to a close in a loaded Region I that features 10 of the top 25 teams in the final TABC regular season rankings for 6A, dropping a 62-50 contest to No. 11 Waxahachie on Friday night at Mansfield Timberview in the area round of the playoffs.
“The biggest thing I told them was one game doesn’t define your season,” Schnell said. “It stings and hurts right now, but you can’t let this one game and this one moment take the glitter off of what you accomplished. I told them that at the end of the day when you get to this round the little things matter. The team that does the little things a little bit better wins.
Hats off to Waxahachie. They did enough plays and made enough of the loose balls, rebounds and all to get the win.”
After tying the game at 23-23 in the second quarter, Coppell was gaining momentum and ready to take control against one of the top teams in the state, but – much like the rest of the game – Waxahachie had an answer to everything to be able to pull away.
Waxahachie closed the first half on a 9-2 run going into the locker room. From there, Waxahachie never quote relinquished control and was able to hold on for a 12-point victory and extend its season on the hardwood.
“It seemed like any time we got something going, something else went against us,” Schnell said. “A loose ball went their way and they got a shot off it or we make a turnover and they come down and hit a big 3 on us. It was just like we couldn’t quite get over the hump to stay in it.”
Yet while Waxahachie pulled away, Coppell never once threw in the towel even when the deficit kept mounting and mounting over the final minutes.
With Waxahachie holding a 48-33 lead, Coppell called a timeout with 5:18 remaining. And in the following few minutes, the Cowboys fought their way back and never quit when the Waxahachie lead was pushed to as much at 15 at that time.
Senior Adam Moussa finished a three-point play to make it 48-36, followed by sophomore Anthony Black’s putback to make it 48-38, which was then followed by a Waxahachie turnover and a Moussa 3 to trim the Waxahachie deficit to 48-41 as part of an 8-0 Coppell run.
Coppell would get as close as six points after Agarwal had a putback off his own miss and getting his team within 52-46, but Waxahachie scored 10 of the game’s final 14 points to hold off a furious late Cowboys rally.
“I was telling them, I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to pull it up right here. If we’re going to give ourselves a chance, this is the moment,’” Schnell said. “I thought they gave no quit. They went after it. They played with a ton of effort. The fight was there.”
Moussa - in his final game at the high school level - scored a team-high 15 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter to help bring the Cowboys within single digits. Agarwal and senior Brandon Taylor each chipped in 11 while hitting a combined five 3s. Black added six points, Cole Duron finished with five and senior Clayton Hunter had two.
“Without giving up the fight, I knew those guys were going to make plays and feed off enough opportunities,” Schnell said. “They did. Those were huge, and they gave us a fighting chance down the stretch.”
The Cowboys now say goodbye to a senior class that brought a lot of success to the campus under Schnell’s reign, helping build Coppell into one of the top teams in the region and state.
With those players in the program, the Cowboys came out on top of 6-6A twice in back-to-back years finished their careers as the No. 24 6A program in Texas at regular season’s end.
“I think it’s huge for our program,” Schnell said. “My first year I came in and inherited a team that had a lot of seniors. It was their first year playing varsity, and they played together a team, won district and surprised a lot of people. I think my younger class, my juniors, now seniors, at that time learned what it takes to be great.”
But Coppell’s future is bright on the hardwood. Three juniors return and so does a talented sophomore class that includes Agarwal, who is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, and Black, who has offers in football and basketball.”
“I’ve got three juniors coming back off this team that will be seniors,” Schnell said. “My senior class won’t be as deep next year, but I like the kids I got. And then, of course, the three sophomores. Anthony and Ryan kind of get all the headlines, but little Devank (Rane), he was over a 50% 3-point shooter on the year. He plays a lot bigger than he is. He’s been through the fire with us, and he’s going to be ready to go.
“I’ve got a good freshman class. I’ve got two freshmen that I brought up for the playoff run just so they could experience it. It’s going to be a trial just to replace the leadership that’s left, but I talent that we’ve got coming in behind them.”