• Covington's Felia Fayne goes up for a shot during action Tuesday night in Brighton. Photo by Jeff Ireland

When the Brighton-Covington girls’s game tipped off Tuesday night in Brighton, three Brighton freshmen and a sophomore were in the starting lineup and the team’s best player, senior DeMiyah Gatlin, was in street clothes and wearing a knee brace.

Late in the second quarter point guard Lana Vaden was injured and did not return.

All that added up to a lopsided 71-7 Covington win.

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Covington (7-1) deployed a full-court press the entire first half and Brighton (2-3) managed just one field goal the entire game. It came on a stick back by Talea Taylor with 4:33 left in the game.

“We’re struggling with numbers and have some girls who could help us who are not going to play because of COVID and I understand that,” Brighton head coach Stan Gatlin said. “We just have to weather the storm.”

Covington led 24-1 after one quarter and 40-1 at the half.

Lady Charger head coach Katrisha Glass substituted liberally throughout the game and used all 12 players on her roster, but it made no difference.

“We just worked on defense, keeping our man in front and executing our offense the best we could,” Glass said.

Kalynn Howard scored nine of her game-high 12 points in the third quarter for Covington and Felia Fayne scored all 10 of her points in the first half. CorTayza Flowers, who transferred from Brighton to Covington over the summer, added seven points.

Although the season is very young, Covington is looking like one of the best teams in West Tennessee. The Lady Chargers already own wins over Dyersburg, Union City and Bartlett and went 1-1 during a trip to Georgia last month. Their only loss came against Winston-Salem Christian, a very good team from North Carolina.

“We played very well against some very high-level programs,” Glass said. “I feel like we’ve slowly gotten ourselves into playing shape and hopefully we can continue to do that. You never know when COVID could hit us so we just try and keep the girls prepared because I don’t know who’s name I going to have to call. We’re just trying to keep it rolling as long as we can. I have to keep everybody ready in case I don’t have some main players.”

Gatlin is hopeful some of his players will return to the court soon as the season progresses.

“This our summer, basically,” Gatlin said. “We’re learning what they can and can’t do on the varsity level and they’re learning what they can and can’t do. It is what it is. We just have to coach them hard and make them mentally tough. Hopefully some people will heal up quick and help us out.”