For a while Tuesday night it looked the Cardinals were going to treat the large crowd assembled in the Brighton gym to a competitive game against their county rival Covington.
J.D. Weathers and Ken Hennings each hit 3-pointers to give Brighton an 8-4 lead midway through the first quarter.
It was all Covington after that, though.
The Chargers (13-3) went on a 29-4 run. Brandon Alston and TyJuan Smith had thunderous dunks to get the run started. Myles Stark hit a pair of 3-pointers, Tory Bradley hit a third from long range and another 3-pointer from Martez Logan put Covington ahead 36-14 midway through the second quarter.
Covington led by as much as 31 points en route to an 81-63 win that finished off a season sweep of Brighton (6-8).
The Chargers beat Brighton 83-49 last month in Covington. Despite that, Covington played with high energy from the start.
“Coach told us not to be overconfident, to never overlook anybody,” said Alston, who scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with a team-high 13. “We’re feeling good. We just have to go into every game and take care of business.”
“I don’t think I had to give them a message,” said Covington head coach Charles Mitchell. “We have a lot of seniors and they know what happened last season. This is just a good group of kids, one of the most accommodating teams to each other I’ve ever had. They’re very unselfish.”
The scorebook reflected that as seven players scored six or more points. Smith finished with 13, Stark had 11 and Bradley finished with 10. DeMaryo Gatlin and Anthony Smith led Brighton with 16 points each, Hennings added nine and Weathers scored eight.
Despite the loss, Brighton head coach Stan Gatlin said his team learned some things playing against one of the best teams in West Tennessee. The Cardinals open up district play next Tuesday at Liberty.
“I think, playing against Covington, it definitely prepares us for the rest of the season,” Gatlin said. “It’s just a matter of not playing down to a level that’s lower than what we’ve seen … We had some lulls and memory lapses tonight that got us behind.”
Covington, which is 2-0 in District 15-AA, has a big game against Bolivar on Friday and, hopefully, some much bigger games next month in the postseason. The Chargers have made the region semifinals and lost to the eventual state champ the last two seasons.
“We’re a veteran group and they know what’s at stake,” Mitchell said. “We’re trying to get to a bigger platform.”
Said Smith: “We’re just in the gym everyday trying to get better.”