Head coach: Katrisha Glass (7th season)
Last season: 28-6, lost to Macon County in Class AA state quarterfinals
Starters lost: 0
Starters returning: 5
Players to watch: G Kalynn Howard, F Felia Fayne, F Daniyasia Robinson, G Trinity Taylor, G Ja’Nile Alston, G Brinley Cousar
To say the expectations are high for the Covington Lady Chargers is an understatement.
Covington returns all five starters and graduated just one rotation player (Ali Gover) from a team that won district and region titles and made it all the way to the state quarterfinals. The Lady Chargers lost six games last season and just two of those teams (Memphis Central and Dyersburg) were local. Covington blew out every district opponent not named Bolivar, which they beat three times.
With all that said, head coach Katrisha Glass recognizes some areas that need improvement. The main thing she is concerned about is taking some of the ball-handling load off junior point guard Kalynn Howard, who led Covington in scoring last year with 18.6 points per game.
That shortcoming was evident when Macon County handled Covington in the state quarterfinals last March.
“The key is we have to find more ball handlers,” said head coach Katrisha Glass, who knows a little something about that. She was the point guard on the Lady Charger team that made it to state in 2002.
“We relied too much on her. When people keyed on her and slowed her down, that was a problem.”
Trinity Taylor and Ja’Nile Alston, both of whom are senior guards who started last season, will be candidates to handle the ball more. The same goes for senior Brinley Cousar, who was one of the first players off the bench last season, as well as sophomore Na’kya Gilliam and freshmen Shamya Butler and Kayla Hicks-Pitts.
Covington was dominant in the paint at times last year, thanks primarily to Daniyasia Robinson and Felia Fayne, both juniors. Robinson averaged seven points and five rebounds last season. Fayne, a 6-0 forward, averaged 11 points and seven rebounds last season and scored a game-high 18 in the state tournament quarterfinal.
Other players expected to contribute include seniors Antonisha Mason and Toniyah Taylor.
Six years passed between the last two Covington state tournament appearances. The hope is that will not be the case again.
“In the past we’ve been an underdog, and we liked that,” Glass said. “Now, after making it to state, people are expecting us to get back to that point. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get to that. Nobody’s going to give us anything.”