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Covington finishes third in Arkansas tournament

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The Chargers made their second appearance at the Harrison Toyota Classic in Arkansas Dec. 26-28, coming away with a pair of wins and a third place finish while improving their season record to 10-5.

Playing in a modified format of two 16-minute halves, CHS dropped the opening game 55-53 in overtime to Russellvile (Ark.). 

The Chargers had command of the game and were up by 11 when things began to go south. Late turnovers allowed the Cyclones to climb back into the game and twice tie the contest in the last 30 seconds, forcing the OT period. 

“We had done everything that we needed to do to win,” said Covington coach Charles Mitchell. “Not sure how it got away at the end. We just lost focus.”

Covington committed 13 turnovers to seven for Russellville. 

Malcolm Taylor paced CHS with 19 points. Bobby Shanks added 10. 

Friday’s match against the Bergman (Ark.) Panthers was more to the Chargers’ liking. Covington ran out to a 41-29 halftime advantage and played Bergman even in the second half for an 83-70 win. 

“We played much better,” Mitchell said. “I think not being in the championship game fired them up and they came out and just played.”

Shanks stepped up to pace the Chargers with 26 points. Taylor, who led CHS in total scoring for the three games, added 20.

Saturday’s third place game against the Poteau (Okla.) Pirates was a 64-46 victory for Covington. The Chargers built a 10-point lead at the half, 33-23, and kept the pressure on in the second to win going away. 

“I guess they were ready to go,” said Mitchell. “The kids played well and never let them in the game.”

Taylor was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points. Damarcus Seaberry dropped in three triples and a total of 13 points and Shanks kicked in 10. Poteau’s Larrimore and Harrison scored 12 apiece. 

Covington crushed the Pirates at the free throw line, connecting on 13 of 16 attempts. The Pirates shot 100 percent, making their lone attempt in the game.

“The preseason will be behind us after Saturday’s (Jan. 4) game at Brighton,” Mitchell said. “We will find real quickly where we are."

District play opens on Tuesday with a home game against Haywood followed by a road trip to Jackson Northside on Friday, Jan. 10. 

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