By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — There aren’t a lot of secrets when Covington and Newton girls get together on the basketball court.
Add to it a couple of coaching legends like Jim Meyer (Covington) and Steve Fisher (Newton) who know each other well and you know what you are going to get.
So after Covington’s 57-44 victory over Newton in non-conference action Saturday, it wasn’t suprising to hear words like deja vu or just like the first game — a 51-46 Covington win in CCC action in December.
The Lady Buccs improved to 13-4, while the Lady Indians dropped to 9-4.
“I told our girls it was a gutsy effort,” Meyer said. “It was deja vu from the first game. In the fourth quarter, we had a lot of trouble with their trap. We had a comfortable lead and the girls were able to gut it out.”
Fisher lamented a second quarter, where Covington outscored Newton 18-5.
“I think the same thing happened the first time we played them,” Fisher said. “We had a real bad second quarter and we couldn’t recover. We seem to have one bad stretch and it was in the second quarter again today.”
And both coaches still had a trick or two up their sleeves.
Covington, while playing the same box-and-one they had played before on Tatum McBride, altered it a little bit.
“We knew they would play box-and-one,” Fisher said. “They changed a few things we needed to make adjustments for. Basically, we did the same thing. Tatum is such a good player — we just tried to have her set ball screens and make plays off of that.”
Meyer was happy with his defense on McBride, who scored all 13 of her points in the second half.
“I thought we did a nice job on defense with the box-and-one,” he said.
At the same time, Fisher changed things up with a triangle-and-two defense in the first half.
“I felt like that gave them problems early on,” Fisher said.
The game swung on two big stats.
Some timely 3-point shooting from Covington — and a nearly flawless performance at the foul line from the Buccs.
Covington had evened the game at 12 early in the second quarter on a 3-point play by Allie Angle.
After Kaylee Kesler hit a three for Newton, Covington finished the half on a 15-2 run to lead 27-17 at the break.
The final nine points came on three straight shots from behind the arc — two by Jordan Crowell and one by Justice Warner. Covington would finish five of 12 from behind the arc.
“We had some big baskets in the second quarter — that’s for sure,” Meyer said.
Crowell and Warner both hit threes early in the third quarter — as Covington opened a 35=21 lead before Newton’s half-court trap began to take its toll.
With McBride creating things for the Indians offense — a four-point play by Elizabeth Carroll got the Indians within 49-42 with 2:26 to go, but that was as close as they could get.
That is where the second big factor came — Covington’s free throw shooting.
Before the Lady Buccs missed their final two, they were 20 of 22 from the line — with one of those misses being a lane violation.
Sammi Whiteman was nine of 11 (with one miss being the lane violation), Lexie Long was 4-for-4, Crowell was 4-for-6, Lyle was 2-for-2 and Angle made her only attempt.
“That is what you want to see,” Meyer said.
And it left the Lady Indians frustrated.
“The trap was effective,” Fisher said. “We had 16 turnovers and they had more than that. But, we didn’t turn them into points. I thought we did a good job on (Sammi) Whiteman. But, she hurt us at the line.”
Whiteman led all scorers with 17 points and had 10 rebounds.
Crowell scored 13 points, Long netted 10 and Warner added eight.
McBride led Newton with 13.
Carroll scored nine, while Anna Wolfe had eight points and five rebounds.
Covington was 16 of 30 from the floor for 53 percent and 20 of 24 from the line for 83 percent. Newton was 17 of 42 from the floor for 40 percent and six of eight from the line for 75 percent.
The Lady Buccs won the battle of the boards 22-12, but had 19 turnovers to Newton’s 16.
Newton begins a busy stretch Monday with Dixie and Covington hosts Miami East Thursday — and both coaches will be happy to see less familiar opponents.
Lexie Long 3-4-10, Sammi Whiteman 4-9-17, Justice Warner 3-0-8, Jordan Crowell 3-4-13, Tori Lyle 1-2-4, Addison Metz 0-0-0, Lauren Christian 0-0-0, Allison Angle 1-1-3, Lillian Hamilton 1-0-2. Totals: 16-20-57.
Tatum McBride 4-4-13, Macy Flanary 2-1-5, Kaylee Kesler 1-0-3, Aliya Stine 3-0-6, Anna Wolfe 4-0-8, Mallory Dunlevy 0-0-0, Elizabeth Carroll 3-1-9, Kassidy Alexander 0-0-0, Treanna Lavy 0-0-0. Totals: 17-6-44.
3-point field goals — Covington: Warner (2), Crowell (3). Newton: McBride, Kesler, Carroll (2).
Score By Quarters
Covington 9 27 42 57
Newton 12 17 27 44
Records: Covington 13-4, Newton 9-4.
Reserve score: Covington 40, Newton 39.