By Josh Brown
and Ben Robinson
URBANA — After missing her entire sophomore season with an injury, some were left to wonder how Morgan Haney would look when she returned.
The Miami East junior point guard answered all of those questions and then some.
Haney scored a game-high 25 points, hitting two of the Vikings’ four 3-pointers on the night and leading Miami East (1-0) to a 70-55 victory over Olentangy in the opening round of the Skeeter Classic Friday at Urbana High School.
Haley Howard added 13 points, Camryn Miller scored nine points and Kaitlyn Mack added seven for the Vikings, who took a 19-11 lead after the first quarter but clung to a 32-30 lead at halftime — only to blow the game open by outscoring Olentangy 21-2 in the third quarter. Mikayla Schaffner scored six points, Gabrielle Hawkins and Maria Staton each scored four and Bailey Miller added two.
Miami East will face Mechanicsburg — which routed host Urbana 67-31 Friday night — in Saturday’s championship game.
HOUSTON — For the second straight year the Covington girls basketball team had all it could handle and them some with a gritty Houston team in the season opener.
But the Buccaneers (1-0) were able to overcome early foul trouble and an uncharacteristic seven 3-pointers by Houston to escape with a 45-41 win.
“I don’t know what it is, but it seems like Houston gives us trouble,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said. “In everything we’ve seen of them in our preparation, we didn’t see them shoot many 3-pointers, but they sure shot them tonight — and a lot of them came from players we didn’t expect to take those shots.”
Covington opened up the contest with a 6-1 run by holding Houston without a field goal for the first five minutes of the game. But a trey by Rebekah New sparked the Wildcats, and by quarter’s end Houston held a 10-9 lead.
To make matters worse for Covington, senior Tori Lyle picked up an early foul and two quick fouls in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
“Our intention was to get her out of the game when she picked up her second foul, but she got another one before we could get her out,” Meyer said. “That hurt because she’s such a fundamentally sound player who does a lot of little things for us.”
With Lyle on the bench for the remainder of the half and Houston focusing on shutting down Sammi Whiteman, sophomore Mackenzie Long stepped up her game with a pair of treys and a bucket to keep Covington within striking distance at the break, 20-19.
“Kenzie is a player,” Meyer said. “She’s just an athlete who can do a lot of things, including knocking down big shots. She gave us a lift in the first half.”
Covington appeared to take control of the game in the third quarter as Jordan Crowell hit a trey, Long scored on a runner and Lillian Hamilton connected on a pair of jumpers at the elbow.
“Lillie really excelled tonight,” Meyer said. “She defended well, rebounded well and hit some big shots at opportune times.”
Held in check from the floor by Houston’s smothering defense, Whiteman was able to find her way to the free throw line for four points and then ended the third quarter with a runner at the buzzer to give Covington a 34-30 advantage.
A bucket by Long and a free throw by Crowell pushed the Covington lead to seven, but a trey by New and a bucket by Jessie Monnier closed the gap.
Hamilton was able to give Covington some momentum back with a stickback, but New drilled her third trey of the contest to tie the score at 39-39.
Whiteman took over with a runner and then hit four straight free throws down the stretch to give Covington a narrow 45-41 lead.
“This is a big win on the road to start the season,” Meyer said. “A win is all that matters.”
Whiteman led all scorers with a game-high 19 points, while Makenzie Long dropped in 12 in support of the Buccs’ effort. Hamilton added eight points, Crowell had four and Lyle finished with two.
Sarah Monnier led Houston with 14 points, New contributed with 11 and Jessie Monnier had nine.
SIDNEY — The Piqua Indians (1-0) rallied from a four-point deficit with two minutes to play in Friday night’s season opener at Fairlawn, defeating the Jets 50-48.
Lili Stewart scored 12 points to lead the Indians. Kelsey Bachman — who hit a pair of free throws with less than a minute remaining to give the Indians a 49-48 lead — scored 10 points and Tylah Yeomans pitched in nine.
Piqua travels to Troy Christian Tuesday.
GREENVILLE — The Bradford Railroaders (1-0) came from behind to defeat Eaton 49-43 in the opening round of the Annie Oakley Shootout at Greenvile Friday night, advancing to the tournament’s title game.
Skipp Miller scored 18 points and Chelsea Gill added nine for Bradford, which will face host Greenville in Saturday night’s championship.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.