The young Covenant girls basketball team has seen an impressively brutal early season schedule to start the year. The Eagles played in an early season tournament in Richmond and their 4-3 record deeply contrasted their undefeated mark last year entering the Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic.
“We had a couple close games in the Highland Springs tournament.” Covenant coach Caroline Wilke said. “I wanted a harder schedule than we had last year because we needed those tough games to get us through games like this.”
The early season experience showed as Covenant pulled away from Class 5 Albemarle to win 59-43 in the first round of the annual tournament.
The Patriots and Eagles went back and forth for the first two quarters. Kaley Maynard nailed two threes in the first half and the physicality of the Patriots kept them close with Eagles going into the break.
“In the locker room we decided we needed to apply more ball pressure.” Wilke said. “They’re a great team, but we recognized that if we applied more ball pressure we could get some steals and get out in transition and get some points on the board that way.”
Delaney Poindexter spearheaded the attack in the third quarter for Covenant, scoring nine in the third to push her team’s lead to 40-34 after three. Makayla Hargrove also scored some key transition buckets in the third to keep the Eagles in front.
The fourth quarter finally saw the Eagles break away, as the Patriots’ ball-handlers began to wear down and Covenant’s guards kept racking up steals thanks to ther intense ball pressure. Poindexter went six-for-six from the line in the fourth to help seal the victory.
“We knew playing easier teams wasn’t going to help us in times when we were evenly matched, especially with a tough team like Albemarle, so I was really grateful to have those under our belt for this game.” Wilke said of her team’s win.
Delaney Poindexter went for 28 points, 20 of them in the second half. Hargrove chipped in 14 in the effort.
For Albemarle, Kaley Maynard nailed four threes for 12 points, Lauren Grady added nine and Sophia Lynn had eight.
Covenant (5-3) will play the winner of Monticello and William Monroe in the semis of the winner’s bracket tomorrow at 2:30pm at Monticello High School.
Albemarle (0-5) will play the loser of the same game at 11am, also at Monticello tomorrow.