Jones, DeSoto too much for Cowboys in 69-41 victory

Jones, DeSoto too much for Cowboys in 69-41 victory

By John Loop
Sports Writer

DeSoto’s Matt Jones proved once again why he is attending Duke University next fall.

The senior guard scored 22 points to advance the Eagles to the area round of the 2013 UIL Class 5A basketball state playoffs in a convincing 69-41 win over the Coppell Cowboys.

“I mean, the guy is going to Duke which is, in my eyes, the best college program in the nation,” junior guard Landon Goesling said. “But yeah, I mean he is a great player.”

Coming into this game, Coppell coach Kit Pehl knew that the key to hanging with the state’s No. 1 ranked team would be to stay physical on defense.

The Cowboys started the game on a 7-3 run to begin the first quarter before DeSoto started to gain control of the game. The Eagles answered promptly with a 13-6 run of their own to take a 16-13 lead into the second quarter.

“Our possessions were short and impatient during their run which led to transition points after being patient and deliberate prior to that run,” Pehl said.

The Cowboys drew first blood in the second quarter, but the tide turned as Jones led the Eagles to 18 straight points and a 35-18 halftime lead.

“We had a great first quarter,” Goesling said. “We were right there with them. Then we just let it slowly slip away at the start of the second.”

It was not just Jones who made major contributions for the Eagles. Junior guard Takedrick Brown added 13, and junior post Devin Wyatt chipped in nine with a myriad of blocked shots.

“They are not the No. 1 team in the state and No. 4 in the nation for no reason,” Goesling said. “They are a great team and had multiple contributors.”

Pehl and his squad had been down at half more than once during the regular season, and asked his team to buck up and get some defensive stops.

It was more of the same in third quarter for DeSoto. The aggressive defense helped them pull away and hold a lead they would not relinquish.

Back to back three-pointers from junior Cody Carver and senior Calvin Michaelis got the Cowboys back within 20 points late in the fourth quarter, but the rally had started too late.

As DeSoto coasted to the 28-point victory, Pehl, as he had on senior night against Denton Ryan, subbed in all of the seniors to give them one last chance of playing as Coppell Cowboys.

The Cowboys walked slowly to the locker room after the horn sounded, knowing that they were not on the favorable side of the scoreboard, but had left all they had on the court.

Thus was the story of the entire season; strong starts, yet fizzled in the closing minutes of the fourth to lose close games. Those close games, including five against some of the top ranked teams in the state, Duncanville, South Grand Prairie, Richardson Berkner and Hebron (twice in District 5-5A play), would prove to be good practice for the playoff atmosphere.

Granted, if the Cowboys would have won this game, they would have been playing a Hebron team that had already handed them two regular season losses and was also state ranked, right behind DeSoto at No. 2.

Though this season may have been pegged as a rebuilding year, with a new coach, several new players, and a tough new district, Pehl was very pleased with how his team handled all of the changes.

“I am really excited about the potential of my basketball program with an opportunity to have my first off-season with them,” Pehl said. “However, talking about next year today is premature.  Tonight, I am proud of what our team accomplished this year and especially appreciate the effort of those seniors who just played their last basketball game in a Coppell uniform.”