CDP 0125 Prep Hoops girls 231

The Covenant bench celebrates a basket in the second half on Thursday.

Claire Colley is a volume shooter for the Covenant girls basketball team.

The junior guard showcased that skill set Thursday night during the Eagles’ 42-31 come-from-behind victory over visiting Tandem Friends.

Colley scored a team-high 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, to lead Covenant. She was especially effective from behind the arc, sinking four 3-pointers to spark the comeback.

“She has to do that for us,” Covenant coach Austin Crocker said. “She’s a straight shooter and she has to shoot the ball like that for us. She wasn’t hitting her shots in the first half, but she really responded for us in the second half. It was good for her confidence alone to be able to hit those shots.”

Tandem Friends set the tone early on behind the play of point guard Alana Carter-Johnston. The eighth-grader scored eight points in the first half as the Badgers took a 15-14 lead at intermission.

Foul trouble plagued Covenant in the opening half. Leading scorer Ella Dalton had four fouls at the break and watched from the bench in the third quarter as her team looked to make a comeback.

The Eagles went to work on the defensive end as Stella Maton, Bella Harris and Ashleigh Gorry played aggressive pressure defense to prevent Carter-Johnston from getting open looks at the basket.

Harris contributed on the offensive end as well with a short jumper and Colley knocked down a 3-pointer to give Covenant a 19-17 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, Maton converted a pair of steals to layups and Harris added a jumper at the buzzer to extend the lead to 25-17 after three quarters.

Crocker said the third quarter turned the game in the Eagles’ favor.

“We had two of our better players in foul trouble in the first half, and the way our team was able to stick together through that adversity says a lot about their character and where we can go in the future,” Crocker said.

The momentum carried over into the fourth, as Colley hit another trey and Dalton added a layup to give Covenant its biggest lead, 30-19, with 6:54 left.

Tandem tried to respond as Stella Lane converted a pair of layups and Carter-Johnston added another bucket to pull the Badgers within seven, 34-27, with 4:06 left. That would be as close as they would get as Covenant added a pair of late buckets to seal the win.

Carter-Johnston, who averages nearly 26 points a game, was limited to 10 points. Lane had nine points in the loss for the Badgers.

Dalton finished with 10 points, including five in the fourth quarter for Covenant. Maton finished with eight points, including six in the final two quarters.

“I was really pleased with their effort,” Crocker said. “They were all over the court tonight and did a great job of rebounding the basketball, both offensively and defensively, and they showed their heart.”

John Harvey covers Central Virginia high school sports for The Daily Progress and CVille Varsity. He can be reached at jharvey@dailyprogress.com or (434) 978-7250. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnNHarveyIII

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