Charleston stops Eureka's march to Class AA State

Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Eureka's leading scorer, Cash Covington, wasn't ignored by the Charleston Tigers when the two teams met in the semifinals of the Class AA Region 1 tournament at Danville this past Saturday. Charleston ended Eureka's state playoff hopes with defense as seen above, where Covington is sandwiched between Charleston's Chris Akers, No. 43, Jeff Terry, No. 33 at right, and another Tiger, for good measure. Covington still scored 28 in the loss. (CCN/David McNeal)

Coach Josh Hill's Highlander basketball team took the first step toward state with a 64-59 win over the Hackett Hornets at the Class AA Regional in Danville last Friday, but saw those hopes dashed on Saturday with a 67-52 loss to a powerful Charleston Tiger team.

Charleston, winner of the 4AA district, also played Class AAA Ozark this season, and split games with the towering Hillbillies as they prepared for a run to state.

Charleston faced Lavaca, the No. 2 seed from 4AA, in the regional finals Monday at Danville. The Highlanders finished the season with a 19-15 mark and a trip to the regional tournament for the second year in a row.

CLASS AA REGIONAL

Eureka Springs vs. Hackett

Friday, Feb. 28

15-19, 30-27, 44-40, 64-59

Hackett, relying on guard play, raced out to an 11-0 start on the Highlanders before they woke up and went to work.

Cash Covington hit a three and netted eight points in the first quarter, and Eureka came back to within four that period. Covington added seven in the second, 18 for the game, and Eureka led by three at halftime.

"We started out 0-11, then scored a few and had a good second quarter," Coach Hill said. "But Hackett made 11 threes, five the first quarter and seven the first half, so we changed defenses to a 1-3-1 zone."

The teams swapped baskets the third quarter, then Coach Hill said the Highlanders had some turnovers late in the fourth, setting up a big finish for freshman Paul Sebby.

Sebby moved up from the junior high team and used his speed to sting the Hornets, who were pressing at the end. Sebby scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth period, including a key layup and ensuing free throw to give Eureka a 5-point lead at the end. Sebby was 5 of 5 at the line in the fourth.

Victor Smith also came up big, scoring 15 points, eight in the second and 5 in the fourth, giving Eureka three players in double figures.

Scoring- ES- Covington- 18, 2 3's, 6/12 Fts; 15's- Smith, Sebby, 5/5 Fts; Chris Williams- 7; Josh Enyart 5; Jake McMorrow- 4. HK- Coby Lane- 21, 3 3's; Mike Decker- 18, 4 3's; Grant Christionsen- 14, 3 3's.

Vs. Charleston

Saturday, March 1

2-16, 18-35, 31-51, 52-67

The Highlanders ran into a talented, disciplined Tiger team who controlled both ends of the floor right from the start.

Charleston's sophomore forward Drew Hill swished two threes and scored 10 points the first quarter, and finished the night with 23 markers.

Inside power Jeff Terry chipped in 18 and controlled the boards in spite of Coach Hill's efforts to change defenses and mix things up.

Eureka's Cash Covington, who netted 28 points on the night, often found himself facing three defenders, and still scored 14 of the team's 18 points at halftime.

He was 10 of 10 at the free throw line, with the team making 15 of 16.

Charleston was 8 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter as the Highlanders had to foul, with Eureka's Victor Smith scoring six that period and Jake McMorrow four.

Scoring- ES- Covington- 28, 2 3's, 10/10 Fts; Smith- 8; Sebby- 7; McMorrow- 6; Chris Williams- 2; Russell Williams- 1. CH- Hill- 23; Terry- 18; Zack Robinson- 12.

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