By KEVIN WEAKS
Covington pulled rank, so to speak.
With a No. 7 girls’ ranking and No. 6 boys’ ranking in the first Associated Press prep basketball polls of the season, the Charger teams posted wins over Obion Central in the Rebels’ first home date of 2013 on Tuesday night.
Covington fought back from a dismal start and the loss of head coach Dion Real because of technical fouls for a 59-53 in the girls’ game and then broke open a relatively close game down the stretch for a 75-60 verdict in the nightcap.
It was easily a double main event card as both girls’ teams were ranked going in — Central’s girls are tied for ninth — while the Rebel boys were two games over .500 and looking to pull off the District 13AA upset.
Neither decision came out in OC’s favor, however.
The Lady Rebels will need some help to make a run at the district regular season title and top seed in the postseason tournament, now trailing both Westview and Covington with a 15-6 overall mark and 6-2 league slate. The Lady Chargers are now 16-2 and 8-1.
OC’s boys, meanwhile, are now in the position of trying to fight their way out of a road game in the postseason’s first round, falling to 9-8 and 3-5. Covington is atop the league standings at 14-3 and 9-0.
Central will hit the road Friday for another 13AA twinbill at Gibson County.
Covington 59, OC 53 (G)
Abby Blackburn had hit the first of two free throws when Real was tagged with two technical fouls, bringing on his ejection at 1:40 of the first quarter. Blackburn missed the second, but then Brandi Goodman sank three of the four extra freebies and Blackburn flashed open underneath for a basket to give the Lady Rebels a 14-3 lead.
Goodman hit 7-of-8 at the line, and Ali McEwen scored four points, including transition layup with four seconds to play to lead OC to a 17-5 advantage after one period.
Three-point baskets from Goodman and Shannon Wiggins stretched OC’s lead to 23-9 at 5:27 of the second period, but then the Lady Charger embarked on a comeback that would ultimately tie the game at 28-all at intermission.
Ashia Jones scored 11 points, and Precious Harvey bottomed a pair of treys to lead the rally, which was ignited by a 10-0 run that had Covington within 23-19.
Rachel Jones went coast-to-coast for a transition layup to put Central up 28-22 at 1:49, but Covington finished strong, Precious Dyson’s layup with 9-10ths of a second on the clock tying the game.
OC head coach Lyle LaRue, who had to sit Goodman for a considerable stretch in the second frame due to foul trouble, saw the two technical fouls as a definite turning point on several levels.
“We were ready to play,” LaRue said. “We came out focused. We did everything right on defense and offense that we’re supposed to do. The way the game started, we deserved it because we were playing harder and smarter.
“Then, all of a sudden, the game changed on the two technicals. The game changed, and the way the game was being called changed. Now, the referees did not cost us the game because we turned the ball over too many times and missed some free throws. But, it’s hard on kids when the game is being called one way and then it just switches. It’s kind of like the greasy wheel gets greased cliché.”
The game’s only change of advantage came seven seconds into the third period when Jones’ three-point play gave Covington a 31-28 lead. The Lady Chargers led by as many as five, 38-33, in the quarter, which saw Goodman go to the bench again when she picked up her fourth foul at 1:11.
“We tried to buy some time in the second quarter when we had a lead, and then we lost momentum,” LaRue said. “Maybe I’m just going to have to leave them out there (with foul trouble). Then, it’s on them to play smart and not foul.”
OC got within two points twice late in the fourth on baskets by McEwen and Paige Hicks, but Covington managed to hold on down the stretch.
Goodman had 16 points, and Wiggins added 11 for OC. Jones topped all players with 22, Harvey added 13 and Janekia Mason tossed in 11 for Covington.
Covington 75, OC 60 (B)
Trailing by double digits when the second half started, Central began chipping away at the Chargers’ lead and closed to within 59-54 with 4:21 remaining before simply running out of gas.
Foul trouble hurt as Brett Scillion picked up his fourth just after OC pulled within five points and then fouled out, along with Zack King, with under a minute remaining.
Shaw Logan’s pull-up 15-footer made it 59-54 and then he grabbed a steal at the other end. But, a missed shot and foul stopped the Rebel rally, and Demetrius Dyson then scored twice from offensive rebounds and added four free throws while DeMarcus Seaberry buried a triple to push the lead back out to double figures.
“(Dyson) was a beast on the boards,” OC head man Bill Kail said. “We had a hard time keeping him off. And, when he was fouled, he stepped to the line and made his free throws. Give him credit.
“But, I was rally proud of our guys’ effort. We never laid down or let down. If we can bring that kind of intensity to practice and to the rest of our games, I feel pretty confident in our chances.”
After losing an early lead, OC went ahead for the final time, 11-9, on a three-point play by Morris with 3:41 left in the opening quarter. Tarecus Hughes followed with a triple and transition layup, and then Covington widened the gap to as many as 13 at 36-23 late in the second period.
Dyson, who finished with 26 points, converted a pair of three-point plays and scored nine points in the second.
Logan led three Rebels in double figures with 15, Morris added 14 and Scillion, who also picked up a technical, finished with 13.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.13