The No. 10-ranked Mc- Mullen County Cowboys didn’t have an easy path to beat the Knippa Rockcrushers at first.
The Cowboys (25-3) beat Knippa 72-46 despite a slow start. Knippa trailed the Cowboys 15-13 after the first quarter thanks to six turnovers committed by McMullen County and just two turnovers for Knippa. The Cowboys eventually forced 24 turnovers while only committing 19 for the game.
“We cleaned it up,” Head Coach Jeremy Mills said. “Once we started winning [the turnover] battle, we took care of the ball and stopped fouling. That was really important for us.”
Despite the slow start in the turnover battle, the Cowboys came out hot and went on an 8-2 run to open the game.
The Cowboys’ shooting trend continued, as they shot 45% from the field including 12-of-31 from behind the three-point line.
McMullen County’s turnover turnaround was on display to open the third quarter as they went on an 11-2 run in the first 3:20 of the second half thanks to seven points from junior Troy Allen and three three-pointers by the Cowboys.
With their struggles in the turnover battle early on, the Cowboys needed players to step up and take control of the game. Allen and Shawn Heritage did that in the second half with a combined 19 points.
“Every player on this team can start going off at any moment,” Allen said. “It’s just great to have teammates like that. The steals lead to points. Shawn can take anybody to the basket. We’ve got shooters all around the line. Everybody can have their moments on this team.”
Heritage led the way with 16 points. Allen and Rudy Mesa each tallied 15.
Part of the Cowboys’ rust could be attributed to the chaotic week caused by the winter weather. They were only able to have two practices before their meeting with Knippa. They just needed to get on the court and find their rhythm.
“After taking a break like that, it’s always great to see you’ve still got it,” Heritage said. “We haven’t really lost anything. We’ve been practicing during the week, getting the rust off. So, we came out here expecting to shoot well.”
McMullen County also needed Saturday’s game to get the sour taste out of their mouth after losing to ninth-ranked San Perlita in the District 32-1A firstplace seeding game.
“That may be the best thing about this weather disruption we had,” Mills said. “It gave us some time to get away because, the way we lost it, we were down. We were hurt. That disruption and being away for three or four days because of the weather kinda helped us get refocused.”
McMullen County faced fifth-ranked Calvert on Tuesday night.