The Covington Lady Buccs put together one of the most impressive performances of the season in the third and fourth periods in a convincing 53-36 win over Southeastern to advance to the district final.
VERSAILLES – Covington has played one game since February 4th and that was on Saturday in a 71-6 victory over Miami Valley, so there was plenty of concern going into Wednesday’s sectional final contest against #2 seed Southeastern – a team that had two competitive tournament games under their belt against Newton and Cedarville.
Fortunately the Lady Buccs were able to shake off the rust rather quickly and blew a close game wide open with a huge second half to advance to the district final with a 53-36 victory.
Meg Rogers started things off with a jumper and Avery Koffer followed with a three-pointer to spark a 7-2 lead for the Lady Buccs.
There is a reason Southeastern earned the second seed and the Lady Trojans stormed back to tie the score at 13-13 at the end of the first thanks to the hot shooting of Brooke Nelson, who scored 11 points in the frame on three treys and a layup.
Covington opened up the second with a trey by Koffer, but Southeastern was able to outscore the Lady Buccs 13-9 over the remainder of the first half to take a 26-25 lead at the break.
Nelson, who averaged 14.2 points-per-game throughout the year, gave Covington fits throughout the entire first half by scoring 17 points, but the Lady Buccs made a defensive adjustment in the second half that limited the Trojan standout to just three points the rest of the way. She still finished with a game-high 20 points.
The Lady Buccs went on a rampage in the third period by outscoring Southeastern 15-2 to take a 40-28 lead with one quarter to play.
“The third quarter has been our worst quarter all year,” said Covington coach Shawn Naff. “Against Miami East (in the regular season finale) we had an 11-point lead at halftime and gave up a ton of points in the third quarter. It had to be different tonight and it was. The girls did a great job.”
Gracie Anderson hit a three-pointer and scored on a traditional three-point play, while Maggie Anderson connected on a trey and a short jumper and Carlie Besecker hit a pair of buckets to ignited the offense.
The Lady Buccs kept the pressure and intensity level at a premium in the fourth and closed the show by outscoring Southeastern 13-8 down the stretch.
“They only have two shooters (Brooke Nelson, Kaylee Billet), but they are guards and are really good,” Naff said. “We did a better job (on Brooke Nelson) in the second half.”
Freshman Avery Koffer came up big in clutch situations with a pair of layup and three successful free throws on four attempts, while Maggie Anderson connected on two baskets and Carlie Besecker hit a short jumper.
Maggie Anderson, a sophomore, led the Lady Buccs with 18 points, while junior Carlie Besecker had 14 points and Avery Koffer tallied 13 points. The remaining eight points came from Gracie Anderson (6), and Meg Rogers (2), but the overall performance by every Lady Bucc who saw the floor was outstanding – especially in the second half, which was one of the most impressive two periods of basketball the Covington had played throughout the entire season.
Covington will need the same type of performance for an entire four quarters on Saturday in the district final against Fort Loramie at Troy High School. The game is slated to start at 1:00pm.
“It is always a goal (to go to district),” Naff said. “It is a childhood dream. It will be (a challenge). I have already watched two or three films on Fort Loramie.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington – 13 – 12 – 15 – 13 = 53
Southeastern – 13 – 13 – 2 – 8 = 36
Maggie Anderson – 18
Carlie Besecker – 14
Avery Koffer – 13
Gracie Anderson – 6
Meg Rogers – 2
Brooke Nelson – 20
Kaylee Billett – 5
Kelsey Vollrath – 4
Makenna Ashmore – 3
Aubree Moore – 2
Shelby Simmons – 2
Covington – Avery Koffer (2), Maggie Anderson (1), Gracie Anderson (1)
Southeastern – Brooke Nelson (4), Makenna Ashmore (1)