Lehman boys basketball coach John Tollefson couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
Covington coach Matt Pond’s worst fears were realized.
The net result was a 55-24 Cavalier victory over the Buccs in the opening round of the B.I.G. Classic Holiday tournament.
Covington will play in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. tonight, with Lehman playing in the championship game at 8:30 p.m.
The Cavaliers defense pressure led to easy baskets from the start and the Buccs were never able to get untracked.
“One of the things we have focused on is defense,” Tollefson said. “We have gotten a late start because of the football playoffs and a senior retreat, but we have worked really hard on our defense and it paid off tonight.”
Lehman jumped out to a 21-3 first quarter lead and stretched it to 28-6 at halftime.
“Our two big concerns coming into the game were rebounding and transition,” Pond said. “And they were able to get their transition game going quickly. We didn’t handle their defensive pressure very well.”
And when Covington did get some offensive opportunities in the early going, they couldn’t convert.
“We had a coupled good looks and we rimmed them,” Pond said. “Unofficially, 38 of Lehman’s 43 shots came from the paint tonight. When you give up that many shots in transition, you are not going to beat anybody.”
James Rego scored nine points in the first half for the Cavaliers, while Jackson Frantz and Nathan Hall each scored seven.
“The great thing about tonight was we were still increasing the lead when we had our nine and 10 kids in there,” Tollefson said.
And while Lehman opened the lead to 43-14 after three quarters, Pond found some positives.
“You know, the good thing is the kids never quit,” Pond said. “I know that because we took two charges in the last couple minutes. It was a tough game, but the good things is we get to come back and play again tomorrow.”
In a balanced attack that saw 11 players score, Frantz was the game’s lone double figure scorer with 12 points and Rego added nine.
“The kids were excited after the game and I told them that was great,” Tollefson said. “But, I told them they need to be ready to play tomorrow (tonight).”
Ethan Meyer led Covington with nine and Andre Benedict added seven.
“We had 24 turnovers,” Pond said. “When your turnovers match your point total, that is never a good stat.”
Ethan Meyer 3-2-9, Tyler Clark 0-2-2, Andre Benedict 2-2-7, Tyler Henry 1-0-2, Robert Gangler 0-0-0, Austin Lefeld 0-0-0, Nathan Blei 0-0-0, Josh Earick 2-0-4, Ty Boehringer 0-0-0, Drew Schaurer 0-0-0, Riley Vanhise 0-0-0. Totals: 8-6-24.
Thomas Covault 1-0-2, James Rego 4-1-9, Nathan Hall 3-1-7, Josh Smith 2-2-7, Jackson Frantz 4-4-12, Drew Westerheide 3-0-7, John Husa 0-0-0, Greg Spearman 0-2-2, Austin Arnold 0-0-0, Nick Rourke 2-2-6, Kris Lee 0-1-1, AJ Hemmelgarn 0-0-0, Clay Selsor 1-0-2, Stephen Monnin 1-0-2. Totals: 21-12-55.
3-point field goals — Covington: Meyer, Benedict. Lehman: Smith.
Score By Quarters
Covington36 14 24
Lehman 21 28 43 55
Reserve score: Lehman 60, Covington 46.