Covington defeated Brighton 67-55 in front of a large crowd packed into the Charger gym on a chilly Saturday night.
But the double-digit deficit was a little misleading as Brighton kept the game was close until the fourth quarter.
Brighton's Milton Hardy hit a 3-pointer with 3:01 left in the third quarter to cut what had been a 14-point Charger lead all the way down to six.
The lead was down to five in the closing minutes of the third period before Covington pushed it back to double digits midway through the fourth quarter to regain control.
Covington's inability to close out the Cardinals frustrated Charger head coach Charles Mitchell.
“It's just learning how to put people away,” said Mitchell, whose team moved to 8-2 with the win. “They still want to play fast. I want them to play fast, but they've got to play fast with a purpose. They've got to understand when it's time to shoot and when it's not. We were up 14 and we took three or four crazy shots we didn't need.”
Brighton (1-8) led 7-0 after Tramaine Cooper hit a 3-pointer with 5:58 left in the first quarter.
After taking a one-point lead at the end of one quarter, Covington started the second quarter on a 14-2 run thanks to a press that forced three Brighton turnovers.
Malcolm Taylor, who led all scorers with 20 points, scored eight points during the run and Demarcus Seaberry hit a 3-pointer.
Brighton made its first field goal of the second quarter with 1:54 left before halftime.
Covington's lead was in double digits early in the third quarter until Brighton made its run.
Bobby Shanks scored 16 points for Covington, most of which came in the paint.
Jamal Claybon added nine points for the Chargers and Jalen Claybon scored eight.
Hardy led the Cardinals with 17 points. Cooper and Markerro Broadnax each added eight.
Brighton's loss came one night after a defeat against Hardin County.
“I think we still need to learn to keep fighting,” said Brighton head coach Darryle Rogers. “We're still young. Wev'e got a lot of sophomores and juniors. With that, they have to grow and mature. I'm definitely proud of the way my boys battled playing back-to-back games. It's a lot for some young guys.”
Mitchell said his players have a long way to go if they plan on competing against some of the elite teams in the area.
“Every time we slowed it down and broke them down, we got what we wanted,” Mitchell said. “If we want to compete with Liberty, Bolivar and Haywood, we've got to make free throws and we've got to put people away. We got some great steals and blew some layups. If we were as good as we were going to get right now, we'd be in trouble.”