Jewel Sumner’s 1-2 punch proved too much for a short-handed Covington team on Saturday in the girls’ gold bracket championship game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.
With guard Bre’Ashlee Jones scoring 23 points and center Diamond Brooks 18 to lead the way, the Class 3A Cowgirls defeated the Class 5A Lions 54-40 at the Alario Center.
When Brooks wasn’t driving strongly to the basket, she was cutting into the lane in Sumner’s halfcourt offense, catching passes and scoring. She also hurt the Lions by finishing on the fastbreak.
“Bre’Ashlee is a bulldog,” said Sumner coach Kara Corkern, whose team remained unbeaten at 20-0. “She brings it every game, 110 percent.
“And Diamond is the true definition of a post player. She knows how to use her body. She has soft hands, she can catch hard passes. A lot of girls her age can’t catch.”
Covington (15-6), which had a surprising victory against Ursuline in Saturday morning’s semifinals, found itself behind quickly in the championship game, as the Cowgirls scored the first nine points and led 17-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Sumner led 30-15 at halftime.
“We may have expended a lot of energy against Ursuline,” Covington coach Christine Beauvais said. “Three of our players missed the bus this morning, so we had only seven players. It was hard having played (Saturday) morning then having to leave the same players in the game that long.”
One player it didn’t seem to bother too much was lithe center Tashia McDowell, who was the Lions’ only double-figure scorer, with 16 points. McDowell also grabbed 16 rebounds.
But it wasn’t enough against Sumner, which last season reached the 3A state semifinals. The Lions clearly were bothered by the Cowgirls’ 1-2-2 and 2-1-2 zone defenses, and except for a spurt at the start of the third quarter, were unable to get into a rhythm.
“We knew they were a good perimeter shooting team, and our goal was to shut down the perimeter, and I think we did a good job with that,” Corkern said.
Sumner appeared to be uninspired at the start of the third quarter. Three-pointers by guards Sydney Houlemard and Chastity Garrett brought Covington to 32-20 of the lead at 5:52 of the quarter. However, Corkern called timeout to talk to her team.
“I told them it doesn’t matter what that scoreboard says,” Corkern said. “It’s always zero-zero. And that’s the mentality we try to have the whole season.”
Forward Baylie Bridges came out of the timeout and scored low, and Jones made a three-point play on a putback, and the lead was 37-20 a minute later. The quarter ended with Sumner leading 44-27.
Corkern seems to like her team’s chances for another run in the state playoffs.
“All of our girls, they all complement each other,” she said. “We have perimeter shooters, a strong post game, we have a penetration game. So, whatever opportunities we have, we just take.”