LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- A late run in the fourth quarter from the Covenant women's basketball team was thwarted when Huntingdon's Keturah Billen made a jumper with two seconds left giving the visiting Hawks a 70-68 victory on Thursday night inside Barnes PE Center.
The loss is the second straight for Covenant (5-7, 1-2 USA South).
Covenant trailed by six entering the fourth quarter and then by eight within the period before slicing into the deficit. The Scots went on a 7-0 run in less than a minute of gameplay, capped by a Bekah Walter 3-pointer, to get within 58-57 with 5:47 remaining. It remained a one-point game until Huntingdon surged to a five-point lead, 66-61, with 1:43 to go.
Walter was clutch down the stretch to keep Covenant within range. Her two free throws at the 1:24 mark cut the margin to 66-63 and Walter followed that with a driving layup to make it 66-65 with 49 seconds remaining. After a Huntingdon basket that extended its lead to 68-65, Walter drilled a deep 3-pointer tying the game at 68 with 18 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Huntingdon's Billen dropped in a jumper from the free throw line to give the Hawks a 70-68 edge with two seconds left.
Covenant had one last chance, but tough defense from the Hawks forced a 3-point attempt that came after the buzzer sounded.
Kaley Hallmark led the Scots with 18 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Walter and Joanna Smith had 15 points apiece, while Smith had six rebounds. Smith scored 12 of her points in the second half. Jessica Bell and Emma Grimes poured in eight points each, with Grimes pulling down six rebounds.
Harp finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks. T.I. Duncan led all players with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and Hannah Parks came off the bench to score 13 points.
Huntingdon (10-3, 3-1 USA South) led for nearly 38 minutes in the contest, despite Covenant keeping it close throughout. The Scots took their first lead of the night at 14-12 on a Hallmark 3-pointer with 1:05 left in the first period to highlight an 11-0 scoring run. Huntingdon scored the final four points to take a 16-14 lead into the second.
Covenant trailed by as many as seven in the second, but a 10-3 run tied the contest at 27 after a Grimes trey with 4:28 left in the half. Huntingdon would regain the lead and go ahead 35-32 at the break. Huntingdon then extended its lead to double-digits early in the third, before Covenant closed the gap to six entering the fourth quarter.
Covenant shot 40 percent (26-of-65) from the field, but shot an even 50 percent over the final two periods. The Scots hit eight 3-pointers and out-rebounded Huntingdon 40-32. Huntingdon connected on 48.3 percent (28-of-58) from the floor and had 20 assists as a team. The Hawks also made nine triples.
Covenant returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 9 against Piedmont. Tip-off at Barnes PE Center is set for 5:30 p.m.
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