By Ben Robinson
BROOKVILLE — Somehow, someway, the Covington girls basketball team keeps finding different ways to win basketball games when the odds seemed stacked against them in nearly every contest.
And once again the Lady Buccs overcame the odds by knocking off Southeastern 42-38 in the Division IV sectional final on Saturday at Brookville High School.
Covington, 20-5, advances to the district tournament Saturday at 11 a.m. at Troy High School against Russia.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of my seniors,” said an emotional Covington coach Jim Meyer after the Lady Buccs’ 20th win. “Only one of the five came into this season with varsity experience and they just came in and did everything we’ve asked of them from day one. This is our twentieth win – and like I told the girls after the game – this is just the sixth twenty-win season in the forty-two-year history of girls basketball at Covington.”
And the 20th win couldn’t have been any more special as the Lady Buccs knocked off the same Southeastern team that had ended their season in each of the past two years – beating Covington 33-32 in 2015 and 36-32 in 2016.
“Our team chemistry is awesome because of these seniors,” Meyer continued. “All five of them at some point this season has stepped up in some way – as have our underclassmen. I’m so proud of them.”
After a quick Covington foul led to two successful free throws by Southeastern to start the game, the Lady Buccs went on a 9-0 run. Two of the big shots in the run came on back-to-back treys by senior Addison Metz.
But Southeastern was playing for its third straight sectional championship for a reason – primarily its defense.
And the Trojans made life difficult over the remainder of the first half as the Lady Buccs could only manage seven more points in the span of eleven minutes – and only two points coming in the second quarter.
This gave Southeastern time to find its own offense and the Lady Trojans were able to knock down enough shots to take a 21-16 lead at the break.
After an intermission to regroup, the Lady Buccs came out on fire in the third quarter – outscoring Southeastern 20-6 in the frame to build the biggest lead of the contest, 36-27 with one quarter to play.
And once again the big shots came from the seniors as Metz connected on her third three-pointer of the game to give the Lady Buccs their first lead since the first quarter and then Justice Warner drilled a thirty-footer at the buzzer.
After a quick bucket by Southeastern started off the fourth, Covington responded with a back-door layup by junior Tori Lyle.
But that would be the final field goal Covington would be able to record in the contest as the Southeastern defense once again went into shutdown mode.
And the Lady Buccs began making critical mistakes, committing turnovers on five straight possessions that led to a 9-0 Southeastern run to tie the score at 38-38 with just under one minute left.
Sammi Whiteman was then fouled driving to the basket with 15 seconds left and hit both free throws to give Covington a two-point lead.
Southeastern’s shot attempt on the ensuing possession was off the mark and Whiteman was immediately fouled again after pulling down the rebound.
The sophomore floor general the sealed the deal by canning the two clutch free throws – sending the Lady Buccs to the district championship game for the first time since 2014.
Covington, which is now 20-5 on the season – the first twenty-win season since 2007, was led in scoring by Metz and Whiteman, who both had 11 points.
But it was an entire team effort for Covington, which is why they were able to find a way to win when the odds seemed stacked against them.