Marshall, third-quarter surge propel cowboys to victory


Dani Ianni

Junior guard Christian Plummer looks to throw the ball in during the Cowboys 53-50 victory over the Richland Rebels. Plummer saw limited scoring, but moved the ball around well in Coppell’s eighth district victory.

Down 13 points with only about 11 minutes of basketball left to play, the Coppell Cowboys, whose offense had sputtered since the start of the second half, looked to be in dire straits in their final regularly-scheduled game in the old gym.

Then, something clicked.

Slowly, Coppell chipped away at the lead, forcing turnovers on defense and knocking down shots on the offensive end, stealing the 53-50 victory over the Richland Rebels.

“We just stayed solid to what we do,” Coppell coach Kit Pehl said. “We saw to it to concentrate on keeping them out of gaps, and we felt like they take bad shots, and if we play good defense they’d shoot it.”

After a first half that saw five lead changes, Richland came out of the halftime locker room with a potent offense, going on a 9-0 run early on in the third quarter to give them their largest lead of the game.

“We were taking too many quick shots and not moving the ball on offense enough,” junior forward Sam Marshall said, who finished the game with a team-high 16 points. “Coach told us we needed to chip down the lead, take better shots, and that’s what we did.”

After the Cowboys comeback run late in the third, the Cowboys pulled within one with a three-pointer from senior guard Alex Vuchkov, and took the lead after Marshall made a contested layup.

With two minutes left to play, Coppell trailed the Rebels by one. A missed three and a long rebound left senior forward Drew Smith wide open for three, and he nailed the clutch 3-pointer, giving the Cowboys the 50-48 lead. After they drained several free throws from desparate fouls from Richland, the Cowboys went on to win 53-50 for their eighth district win of the year.

“We’re all really good friends, we’re a close team,” Marshall said. “When we get down, we don’t have any doubt that we can chip away at the lead and get the win.”