Malcolm Taylor had a huge game in Tuesday’s Region 8-AA semifinals in Memphis to help the Chargers move one step away from a state tournament berth.
He scored a game- and career-high 36 points to go with 17 rebounds as the sophomore and his teammates roared into the region finals and an automatic sectional berth with a 68-57 over Westwood.
The Chargers square off with the Manassas for the Region 8-AA crown today at 7 p.m. at Fairley High School.
With a win, the Chargers would host a sectional game Monday night, the winner of which advances to the Class AA State Tournament. They would travel for the sectionals on Monday with a loss.
The mountain looked awfully high to climb for the Chargers, who were facing a starting five of 6-0, 6-3, 6-5, 6-5 and 6-7. But the smaller Chargers (19-13) used quickness and solid defense to outrebound and outscore the Longhorns (19-12) both at the line and from the floor.
CHS led by five at the half and one to open the fourth period.
Westwood forged a 49-49 tie with 5:10 remaining and slipped into the lead 51-49 seconds later.
The Covington defense and offense took over in the final four minutes with a 19-6 run that slammed the door and landed both CHS squads (the girls also advanced) in sectional play in the same season for the first time ever.
With 14 points, Bobby Shanks was the only other Charger in double figures scoring.
Brandon Jones and Danny Barlow scored 16 apiece for Westwood.
The Chargers traveled to seventh-ranked and District 16-AA number one seed Douglass on Saturday hoping to extend their season against the Red Devils.
Playing their most complete game as a team of the season, CHS prevailed in a cliff hanger, 73-66.
Covington led 15-14 after one period before falling behind by as many as seven points in the second.
With Douglass (22-5) leading 27-21, Jalen Claybon ignited the Charger offense with a pair of 3-pointers, sparking a 15-2 run that gave CHS a lead that they would not surrender.
A seven-point halftime lead grew to 54-44 after the third quarter.
Douglass did not want to see its season end and roared back twice, paring the Charger lead to two, but they could not get over the hump.
The barrier: Covington free throws. The team that had struggled to make 50 percent for the season made 22 of 30 (73 percent) attempts, including 10 of 14 down the stretch to hold off the Red Devils.
Shanks led CHS with 18 points that included a thunderous dunk off a lob from Kaleb Estes with 1:24 remaining to give the Chargers an eight-point lead.
Shanks was whistled for a technical for celebration and the Red Devils took advantage, making both free throws and a bucket to cut the lead to four.
Estes made three of four at the line in the last minute to seal the deal.
Taylor quietly added 17 points for the Chargers and Claybon turned in his best performance of the year at the point and had a season-high 16 points.