Cowboys starts strong on first day of Coppell Tipoff Classic


Josh Campbell

Coppell senior forward Ryan Agarwal passes against Amarillo in Coppell Large Gym yesterday. The Cowboys and Cowgirls went undefeated on the first day of the Coppell Tipoff Classic, a 20-team tournament.

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

The first day of the Coppell Tipoff Classic was a big day for Coppell basketball. The Cowgirls and the Cowboys earned gritty, comeback victories and finished a combined 4-0 on the day. 

The first game for the Cowgirls (7-0) was a 71-19 victory  against Burleson, with senior forward India Howard leading the Cowgirls with 18 points.

“Our press was very good at the beginning of the game; it forced a lot of turnovers and let us jump out to a lead,” Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy said. “Today, we went for the knockout punch. It was good to get the starters out especially with the [following] games coming up and work on our depth off the bench.”

The second game against Class 3A Winnsboro forced them to rally from a seven-point third quarter deficit to claim a 65-53 comeback victory. 

“The first half was a struggle and we closed the second quarter as bad as you can close it,” Murphy said. “In the first half, we got sped up. In the second half, we slowed down and played with poise.”

The Cowboys (3-1) earned a 72-69 comeback victory over Frisco Reedy in its first game.

“Never once did I see any of the guys just hang their head low or give up, it was always the idea of coming back and the effort was amazing,” Agarwal said. “Defensively, I was trying to pressure the ball a little bit more and get stops or deflections that lead to easy offensive buckets.”

A pair of dunks and a three-point play from Agarwal energized the team and Brown drained two three-pointers to give Coppell the lead. Brown and Agarwal had 25 and 22 points, respectively. 

“It’s kind of two sides to a coin,” Coppell coach Clint Schnell said. “On one side of the coin, I’m ecstatic we won, I’m ecstatic that we had the fortitude to overcome the 10-point [deficit], take the lead back late and hang onto it in the end, that speaks volumes about the character of the team to not quit and fight. The other side of the coin is the effort we gave to put us in that whole to begin with. We could’ve played better, we could’ve been more disciplined and we could’ve been more aggressive; with a better start, we couldn’t have had to comeback at the end.”

The second game for the Cowboys was against state-ranked Amarillo, a 43-35 win for Coppell.. The highlight was the strong defensive showcases put on by both teams. Similarly, Agarwal and Brown faced stiff competition in the Golden Sandstorm senior guard Brendan Hausen, a four-star Villanova signee and seven-foot senior center Cade Hornecker. 

“We did a great job on the glass against a bigger team,” Schnell said. “Defensively, we played our zone very solid. We frustrated them into bad shots, shots they weren’t hitting. Offensively, we didn’t take as many quick shots, we actually worked for some better shots and we executed some plays to get better looks. Our intent was much better. We don’t play scared; we play with confidence that we’re going to put [our guys] in situations where they’ll be most successful. We couldn’t match up with Amarillo man-to-man, we don’t have the size or the athleticism they have but zone [offense] neutralized that.”

Agarwal scored 19 points to lead the Cowboys. 

“We have to adapt to each team we play because, at the end of the day, not every team is the exact same,” Agarwal said. “We did a very good job defensively to hold them to 35 points. Based on the dudes they have, we switched up our style and got the win. It feels great to be 2-0 and, obviously, we want to end the tournament going 5-0 but we’re going to celebrate the wins whenever they come.”

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