By Matt Anderson
— The Covenant Christian girls’ basketball team notched another victory last Thursday night as they traveled to Scecina and won, 43-40.
The Warriors got even production throughout the night. Freshman Kyra Joseph came off the bench and led the team with 10 points. Freshman Hannah Blakley had nine and senior Mallory Huff contributed eight.
The Warriors’ ability to handle Scecina’s top scorer, Shannon Gavaghan, was key. Normally a double-digit scorer, Gavaghan finished the night with 21, and 14 of her points came in the third quarter.
“She just plays that way from start to finish and at some point during the night, she’s going to start playing better,” Scecina coach Evan Beauchamp said. “Normally, she does it consistently throughout.”
Down three points with 14 seconds remaining, the Crusaders went to her on their final possession of the game. She drove the lane and missed a layup as she tried to draw contact.
“The second half she played well, I can’t take anything away from her,” Covenant Christian coach Matt Williams said. “We just talked a lot about having to scheme and our personnel being smart enough to know, ‘okay, she’s scoring probably 80 percent of their points, we need to look to scratch and help out on that.’”
Covenant got off to a slow start to begin the game. They turned the ball over four times before recording their first basket three minutes into the game.
When the Warriors finally got shots up, they didn’t fall. Blakley scored Covenant’s only two field goals of the quarter and Mary Tingle added a point from the foul line.
“Being young is why we didn’t start off well,” Williams said. “We’re trying to build a mentality with a bunch of young players and it’s easier said than done.”
Luckily for the Warriors, Scecina was not having much success on their side of the ball either and Covenant carried a four-point lead out of the first quarter, 10-6.
It was much of the same to start the second quarter for Covenant — two turnovers and five missed field goals in the first three and a half minutes. Then the Warriors found Joseph twice under the basket for her first four points of the game.
“She was the spark we needed tonight,” Williams said. “Random nights it’s different people, but Kyra was that tonight and Kylie Bright with her defense and her long arms just getting some tips, that’s exactly what we needed.”
The Warriors would score eight more points and go on to win the second quarter 15-6. They held a 21-18 lead at the half.
“If we start hitting shots, all of a sudden our girls start stepping up with confidence,” Williams said. “Sometimes, getting that first bucket is the hardest part.”
The second half was a back and forth affair. Scecina recaptured the lead late in the third, thanks to Gavaghan’s 14 third-quarter points, but Covenant was able to take a 33-32 lead into the fourth.
Scecina’s Jenny Montgomery connected on a 3-pointer to put the Crusaders up 39-37 with just over two minutes to go. However, the Warriors prevented them from scoring another field goal for the remainder of the game as they eventually retook and held onto the lead.