Coppell Girls Tip-Off Classic

The Coppell girls basketball team poses with the championship plaque after defeating Royse City 64-44 in the first-place game of the Coppell Tip Off Classic. 

MCKINNEY –Fresh off winning the Coppell Tip Off Classic, the Coppell girls basketball team continued their early-season mastery Tuesday with a 64-40 non-district victory over McKinney Boyd.

The final score didn’t reflect how close the score was in the early-going.

Boyd (2-5) rode its defense to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Broncos used full-court pressure to tighten up the passing lanes. The Cowgirls turned the ball over six times in an opening frame in which the two teams combined for 12 turnovers.

Coppell (10-0) also had to contend with the sharp-shooting of Boyd freshman Aniyah Johnson. The Lady Broncos finished the first quarter on a 9-0 run after the Cowgirls led 8-2. Johnson hit two layups and then added a 3-pointer with five seconds left. Johnson scored nine points in the opening frame and went on to finish with a team-high 15 points.

Coppell settled down in the second quarter and exploded for 23 points to rally for a 31-21 lead at halftime.

Junior guard Waverly Hassman jump-started the comeback with a jump shot and a 3-pointer. She finished with 16 points. Junior combo guard/forward Jules LaMendola fed off Hassman’s energy and was a force in just about every facet of the game. LaMendola made an unconventional three-point play with a putback and free throw after being fouled, then added a 3-pointer with 19 ticks on the game clock to give Coppell a 10-point lead. LaMendola led all scorers with 18 points.

“We relaxed at the start of the game, and no team is going to lay down,” said India Howard, Coppell senior forward. “Whenever you win as much as we’ve done so far, you have a target on your back. And we could have been the best game on their schedule. But we can’t come out just lackadaisical. We were going through the motions. That was more of the message, ‘Guys, just wake up. You need to play like you’re here.’ And we turned it around.”

Junior guard Allyssa Potter proved to be a great closer for the Cowgirls. Coppell began to further distance itself from Boyd in the third quarter and its lead continued to grow in the fourth quarter. Potter caught fired behind the arc, scoring 11 of her 14 points in the final frame, including three 3s.

The victory comes three days after Coppell defeated previously unbeaten and Class 5A’s No. 6 Royse City 64-44 in the championship game of the Coppell Tip Off Classic on Nov. 20.

It was all Coppell from the opening tip. The Cowgirls took a 10-0 lead and never looked back. LaMendola led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds. Howard contributed 13 points and seven rebounds. Ella Spiller recorded 14 points, four assists and was credited with two charges taken. Hassman had a great all-around game with eight points and seven assists.

Howard was named tournament MVP. LaMendola was named to the all-tournament first team.

“It’s our first time winning our home tournament,” Howard said. “We might have got a third-place finish two years ago. But it’s our first time winning it. In our locker room, there are not a lot of trophies. That one is right there up front and center because we’re making a statement. We’re starting anew. It’s a different culture.”

Coppell concluded pool play Nov. 19 with a 60-31 thrashing of Richardson-JJ Pearce.

The Cowgirls are slated to return to the court Nov. 30 at Byron Nelson. The opening tip is set for 6:30 p.m.

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