It was a heated environment Tuesday evening in the Covington high gym, but it wasn’t because of the fans- even though some were upset over referee calls- it was the immense heat that was roaming in the air so bad, by the end of the boys game, the players were tumbling down due to the excess moisture on the hardwood.
Nevertheless, games still had to be played, and better yet, it was Munford and Covington facing off in the first county rival games of the season.
Covington (5-12 overall, 2-0 district) beat Munford (8-8 overall, 2-1 district) in all three meetings last season, so the Cougars were looking for get-back when they entered the Charger territory. Sadly, they didn’t get their chance for revenge as Covington pulled out a 48-40 win.
The first quarter didn’t go in Munford’s way with a multitude of turnovers. After being up by 2 with two minutes left, Alana Whiten knocked down a three and added two points off free-throws. Her sister Arianna shot a free throw to end the quarter 9-6.
Shea Gooden used her size to an advantage by pummeling her way into back-to-back buckets plus Brezia Cooper hit a huge corner-three enroute to a 13-9 lead.
Chargers responded with elite perimeter and free-throw shooting to go on a 12-2 run before finishing off with Arianna making 1 of 2 free throws- due to a shooting foul caused by Gooden before the buzzer sounded- to have a 21-15 lead going into the break.
Attempting a comeback in the third, the Cougars fought to cut the lead down to one with a key three-point shot by Abby Haun, but Alana’s nine straight points gave the Chargers 33-27 lead heading into the final quarter.
Harlee Windsor started the fourth with a three to cut the lead down to three, but the Whiten sisters’ dropped a layup and three in crunch time to give a comfortable lead to end the game 48-40.
Alana finished the game leading all scorers with 21. Cooper and Gooden each had 12.
They will travel to Brownsville to take on an athletic Haywood team. Coach Katrisha Glass says that they will have to be “physical, break their press, and be patient on the offensive end.”
The Chargers (10-8 overall, 1-1 district) were on a hot-winning streak, winning eight of their last ten games and has won four consecutive games. They were very confident going into the Tuesday game against a Munford team (10-7 overall, 1-2 district), who has yet to win a district game.
Despite the disadvantage of playing a team that has been on a good run and on their home court, the Cougars did not back down from a fight and won 60-50.
Munford jumped to an 8-2 run with two three-pointers to open up the game by Alex Walker and Murray Norman.
Tylan Holland and Dashawn Jones teamed up to almost match Munford’s hot start with a knocked-down three and two baskets to cap off a 7-2 run to end the quarter with Covington behind by one point, 10-9.
After starting the quarter with numerous lead changes, a foul to give Murray Norman three free-throw attempts-made all three- helped spaced Munford’s lead to 5 before halftime.
Covington’s leading scorer Holden Warmath, who has been held scoreless all game, was trying to get a rhythm going with a quick layup to the basket and a steal, but Munford switched to high gear with a 14-0 run that lasted over five minutes until a pair of Jones’ free throws broke the streak.
The Cougars kept cruising until the Chargers brought the lead down to ten with 1:40 left in the game, but Munford stayed the course to earn their first district win.
The defense played a huge role in the win as Munford contained Covington’s leading scorer, Holden Warmath, to seven points.
Coach Nick Buford hopes that his team can polish their mistakes and prepare for another big game this Friday against Brighton in their home gym. They plan to take their focus day-by-day until the next game comes.
“We’re just going to use the momentum we got from this game, and bring it on from Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and bring it on Friday against Brighton.” said Norman who finished with 17 points.