Madison Hattix-Covington entered her freshman season as an unknown commodity.
Now, everyone in the area knows her name.
Ellison’s freshman forward quickly established herself as a legitimate threat on the court in her first season with the Lady Eagles, averaging 8.3 points per game with an ability to single-handedly take control of the court.
“She worked extremely hard,” Ellison head coach Sherry McKinnon said. “Every game, I thought she improved, and she became an asset to the program.”
McKinnon had faith in her young standout from the very beginning.
“About two practices before our first game, Coach was like, ‘Starters, go out there,’” Hattix-Covington recalled. “Then she put me in, and I was shocked. At first, I wasn’t really trying to be a scorer. I was just out there, but then I improved as the games went on.”
In just her sixth game as a varsity player, Hattix-Covington was already making an impact, scoring nine points in a 36-28 victory against defending Class 4A champion and then-No. 10 Georgetown.
Her strong play continued throughout the season.
Despite being surrounded by a roster full of playmakers, including three 8-5A All-District superlative award winners and two other first-team selections, Hattix-Covington produced some of her most impressive work during the Lady Eagles’ run to an undefeated district championship.
“At the beginning, I didn’t yell at her because she was a freshman,” McKinnon said. “Then I realized I needed her to step it up. … I started getting on her just like I got on the other kids.
“She didn’t crack. She didn’t cry. She got out there and played. She started having fun, smiling, and I think that took pressure off her.”
By the second round of district, Hattix-Covington was thriving in her role.
In a late-season encounter with Killeen, Hattix-Covington finished with a double-double, scoring 16 points to go with 11 rebounds. One game later, she scored a game-high 18 points in the regular-season finale to complete the Lady Eagles’ 14-0 district record.
Against Copperas Cove, she had a 12-point, seven-rebound outing, and in the title-clinching victory at Harker Heights, Hattix-Covington posted a dozen points.
“She made people start noticing her on the court,” McKinnon said. “Defensively, she was getting it done for us with blocks, and offensively, she started shooting more and getting in the lane. She is hard to contain.”
With youth on her side, the best still awaits Hattix-Covington, but she is thrilled to have simply contributed so early in her career.
“It feels amazing because I feel I was part of a team that made history at this school and in the district,” she said.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org