The Lions will roar into the postseason with some momentum.
Covenant closed the regular season with a 65-45 win over West Academy Thursday, thanks in big part to a career-high 26 points from Terry Hines. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and moved the Lions to 7-14 this season.
“We played like the team we were two weeks ago,” said coach Ryan Smith. “We had a good practice Wednesday and they carried over to the game. It was a great team effort – one we are going to have to have each game.
“As a coach, it’s fun to watch players play hard and play together. It makes coaching a lot easier.”
Hines allowed his coach sit back and watch the show Thursday. West Academy had no answers for Hines, who blew by opponents over and over from the opening tip, ultimately forcing the visitors to go to a zone defense.
With multiple bodies at the rim, Hines picked his spots. The guard pulled up for jumpers, fed teammates for buckets and generally had West guessing each time down the court. The only thing that stopped Hines Thursday was foul trouble.
“He actually didn’t play a lot in the first half, but Terry was getting to the basket,” said Smith. “It was a lot of fun for me. I asked them at one point, ‘what defense do you want to run?’ and told them to go for it. They knew what they needed to do.”
Hines got plenty of support offensively, with Ethan Hillis adding 10 points and Smit Patel finishing with eight. Vansh Patel and Jackson Sauer added seven points apiece, followed by David Netherton with four, Caleb Stovall with two and Elijah Smith with one.
Covenant will now turn its focus on the TNCAA tournament. The Lions are set to face Lancaster on the road Thursday in the opening round.
Covenant is 0-3 against Lancaster this season, with all three losses coming during the Lions’ nine-game losing streak early in the season. Covenant is 5-3 since it snapped the skid and has played some its best ball of late.
“I like where we are right now with tournament coming. If they can give the same mental and physical effort they have given the last few days we can do something special,” said Smith.