By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — Covington girls basketball coach Jim Meyer knows there were a lot of things his team could have done better against Milton-Union Monday night.
But he also knows his team will always make up for those things with their hustle.
And ultimately that was enough to hold off a scrappy Milton-Union team down the stretch as the Buccaneers picked up a 43-35 victory.
Covington improved to 9-4 with the win and Milton-Union dropped 4-7.
“It is tough when we don’t do anything on Sunday and then they were off today (Monday from school),” Meyer said. “Under those circumstances, I thought our girls played pretty well. Milton beat us last year, so this is a big win.”
Two of the plays Meyer was talking about happened in the fourth quarter and helped Covington hold on.
With 2:11 remaining and Covington leading 40-35, Jordan Crowell tried to drive in for a reverse layup that was off the mark.
Instead of putting her head down, Crowell hustled down the floor, knocked the ball away from the Milton-Union player towards the sidelines. Sammie Whiteman was able to just save it and tip it to Lillian Hamilton for a change of possession.
At the 1:22 mark, with it still 40-35, Covington missed two free throws, but 5-foot-5 Tori Lyle was able to get the rebound and keep Covington in possession.
Eventually, despite the Buccs going 3 for 11 from the line in the fourth quarter, Whiteman was able to hit two free throws and Crowell one to put the game out of reach.
“That’s the thing,” Meyer said. “These girls are always going to give me everything they have. In spite of some of the things we did, we were able to get the win.”
The game began with Milton-Union coming out in diamond-and-one on Whiteman.
“We had anticipated that,” Meyer said. “But the thing is there isn’t a lot of good offenses to run against a diamond-and-one. We had worked on a few different things.”
But Crowell hit three 3-pointers in the opening half and Whiteman still scored eight as Covington led 15-12 after one quarter and 25-21 at halftime.
“Those shots by Jordan (Crowell) are what you want to see against that defense,” Meyer said. “And it just helps us so much when she can hit shots like that early in the game.”
Whiteman then scored nine points in the third quarter as Covington took a 38-28 lead to the final eight minutes. Two of those baskets came on cuts to the basket, with assists from Crowell.
“One of the keys was getting down the floor before they could get the defense set up,” Meyer said. “The other thing was I thought we did a good job running the offense and had some nice interior passes for layups.”
Covington missed an opportunity to open up the lead early in the fourth quarter, as the only Covington field goal was a putback by Hamilton with 5:03 to play.
When Milton-Union got 3-pointers from Kristen Dickison and Annika Hutchinson and Dickison added a free throw, Milton-Union got within 40-35 with 3:07 to go.
The Bulldogs would not score again as Covington held on for the win.
“Milton has good shooters,” Meyer said. “You know they have good shooters. All of a sudden, that leads goes down to six with two shots. But, the kids just kept playing hard.”
Whiteman led Covington with 19 points and Crowell added 10.
Dickison led a balanced Bulldog attack with 10, Beyonce Bobbitt added eight points and seven rebounds and Hutchinson had five points, five rebounds and three assists.
Both teams return to action Thursday, as Covington travels to Ansonia and Milton-Union faces Madison.
Miami East 56,
CASSTOWN — Miami East won its seventh straight Monday night, outscoring visiting Urbana 21-3 in the first quarter and 36-9 in the first half to put away a 56-23 non-league victory.
Morgan Haney led the Vikings (11-3) with 15 points on the night as six different players scored at least six points for Miami East. Maria Staton added nine points, Kaitlyn Mack had eight and Camryn Miller, Haley Howard and Mikayla Schaffner each scored six.
Miami East — which is 6-0 in Cross County Conference play, tied atop the leaderboard with Tri-Village — faces the defending conference champion Patriots Thursday on the road.
Pther scores: Legacy Christian 40, Troy Christian (8-2, 5-1 MBC) 22. Bethel at Northeastern ppd. Newton at Tri-County North ppd.
TROY — The Troy hockey team won back-to-back games for the first time this season on Sunday, following up Saturday’s win over Alter by defeating Perrysburg 4-0 to improve to 5-10-2 on the year.
Troy will begin tournament play against North Kentucky Friday at South Metro.
Best of the Nest
DAYTON — Troy Christian’s boys swimming team finished second out of seven teams at the Best of the Nest Invitational Saturday at the Dayton Raiders Aquatic Center, scoring 88 points to champion Bellbrook’s 135.
First-place finishers for the Eagles were: Sam Lavielle in the 50 free (23.23 seconds), Grant Doucette in the 500 free (5:24.71), Jacob Voisinet in the 100 breast (1:05.82) and the 400 free relay team of Voisinet, Doucette, Lavielle and Alec Klint (3:35.05). Second-place finishers were: the 200 medley relay team of Klint, Voisinet, Doucette and Lavielle (1:47.06), Voisinet in the 200 free (2:02.88) and Doucette in the 100 fly (58.28 seconds).
For Troy Christian’s girls, Gracie Glaser finished second in the 100 breast (1:16.13) and fourth in the 200 free, and Sophie Pitsenbarger was fourth in the 50 free (29.15 seconds).
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.