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Covington Academy Bulldogs basketball on three-peat quest
Gino Brown (0) was labeled a team leader by head coach Trell Grimes. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — University of Georgia’s football team aren’t the only Bulldogs in the Peach State who are back-to-back championships. Covington Academy’s basketball team are the defending, back-to-back GAPPS state champions. 

In 2023, the Bulldogs are looking to make it three straight title seasons. Head coach Trell Grimes is not only optimistic concerning his team’s chances, he’s even more confident that Covington Academy can pull it off. 

“This team that I have now is better than I had last year,” Grimes said. “Last year we had more athletes, but this year we have more basketball players throughout the whole roster.” 

Covington Academy is currently 12-6 overall with a 6-3 record in Region 2 I-A. It has triumphed over teams like Nathanael Greene Academy, the Grace Christian Academy and HALO Academy. 

A few key losses have plagued the Bulldogs, too. They suffered defeats against region foe Hills Academy along with non-region losses to Trinity Prep and Lanier Christian Academy. 

Notwithstanding, the Bulldogs are the No. 2 seed in the region tournament that started on Monday. They faced No. 3 seed Providence Classical Christian School located in Oxford. 

The winner between the two schools will advance to the region championship, hosted by Covington Academy at Prospect Church, on Thursday. 

Grimes pointed to one thing that ails Covington Academy in its quest for a third straight state title along with a region championship. 

“Around this time the last two years we were focused on getting it done,” Grimes said. “But this year it’s taken us a minute to get there. We’re still relaxed and I think we’ve gotten comfortable at the top. It doesn’t take much to get our focus back there, though.” 

Even so, there have been some players who have stepped up their game this season. 

Gino Brown and Bruce Smith were mentioned by Grimes as leaders on this year’s team both on and off the court. 

“[Gino] has grown so much as a leader on the team,” Grimes said. “And [Bruce] has come a long way and has improved a lot. But once he’s on, he’s on.” 

Now, with the regular season behind them and the region tournament upcoming, the Bulldogs will shift their focus forward. 

First will be defending their region title from a season ago then, onto the state playoffs. 

And, while Grimes is confident in his team’s ability to win it all again this season, he is aware of what it’s going to take from now on to accomplish their goal. 

“We all need to be focused on one common goal,” Grimes said. “Until then, it’s not going to happen. But I have seen this year that, when we’re all as one unit, we can get there.”