Once Ellison 5-foot-9 freshman forward Madison Covington finishes her basketball career — be that at some top NCAA program or, let’s be bold here, the WNBA — perhaps she’ll thrive as a professional actress.
Looking cool, poised and completely relaxed, Covington scored a career-high 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted two shots leading the Lady Eagles to a 53-47 home win over Killeen on Friday. The win upped Ellison’s District 8-5A record to 13-0 (24-7 overall). The Lady Eagles had clinched the district title last week.
“I looked relaxed tonight? No, I was very, very nervous,” Covington said. “I’m glad I didn’t look nervous. But inside I was extremely nervous. This was such a big night for us: senior night, being our last home game this season and having the chance to go 13-and-0. Plus, especially tonight, I wanted to show everyone that I deserved to be on varsity.”
Oh, she showed that.
Ellison led 12-8 after one quarter and 22-19 at halftime.
Then, in the third quarter, Covington completely took over the contest. She scored 12 of Ellison’s 18-third quarter points and the Lady Eagles led 40-29 heading into the final frame.
“Madison stepped up in the crucial time when we needed her to,” said Ellison senior guard Francesca Patrick. “Madison said she was nervous? Well, it sure didn’t look that way. She didn’t look nervous to us. And she sure didn’t play like she was nervous.”
Killeen went on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter and trailed by six with 4:17 left.
A minute later, Covington swished two free throws and Ellison led 48-40.
With 26 seconds to play, Killeen had possession and trailed by four. Then Covington made a backcourt steal and tossed an on-the-money long pass to Jordanna Porter who was fouled in the act of shooting. Porter hit one of her freebies, and the lead was five.
Killeen attempted a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left which Covington promptly swatted — Gray grabbed the rebound and this win was sealed.
“Madison played amazing tonight,” said Gray. “If it wasn’t for Madison this game could have been a lot closer than it was.”
Gray scored nine points and Patrick had 11. Also for Ellison, Naomi Burnette scored six points, Arriyanna Forch four and Porter seven.
Killeen was led by Keaunna Johnson who scored 15 points and Jacen Moore who tallied seven. Also for the Lady Roos, Tia Harston, Raven Ringo and Ghiniva Phillips scored five points apiece.
Killeen’s district record is now 7-6 (17-14 overall). The Lady Roos can clinch a playoff spot with a home win over Temple in the regular-season finale on Tuesday.
As for Ellison, this bunch wants to be the first Lady Eagles team to finish a district season with a 14-0 record. They can accomplish that with a road win on Tuesday at Shoemaker.
“That’s been our goal all season,” Porter said. “Our whole team is motivated by that. We want to go 14-and-0.
“We’ll be ready.”
“Being undefeated is what we’ve been working toward,” Covington said. “I’m excited about us getting closer to that goal.”
And she may even be a little nervous.
Which would not be a good sign for Shoemaker.