By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
RUSSIA — Russia junior Laurissa Poling heard everyone else telling her not to do it.
But her gut told her otherwise.
Poling’s pass to Jenna Cordonnier led to a Cordonnier basket with seven seconds to go to break a 36-36 deadlock and give the Raiders a 38-36 win over the Covington girls basketball team Tuesday night in non-conference action.
“Even though everybody was telling me not to pass it (instead of shooting), I just had a feeling,” Poling said. “I knew that was what I was going to do.”
And Cordonnier knew it was coming.
“We know each other so well,” she said. “We have been playing together for so long.”
Covington still had one last chance — and with Sammi Whiteman scoring 19 of Covington’s 21 second-half points, Russia coach Andy Timmerman knew she wasn’t going to be the one to take the final shot.
After a Covington timeout with seven seconds to go, Russia doubled her on the inbounds.
“She is a phenomenal player,” Timmerman said about Whiteman. “But she still found a way to get the ball to an open girl, and that is a credit to her. They ended up getting a great look.”
Covington got off a 3-point shot before the buzzer, but it was off the mark as another gutty effort by the Buccaneers came up short.
“That shot was all you could ask for,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said. “And I know Jordan (Crowell) feels terrible. But, you know what — next time she is in that situation, she will make it.”
In one sense, the game was almost deja vu to last year’s district final, when Covington was held to a couple field goals in the second half.
This time, Covington went more than 10 minutes in the second half without a field goal — Whiteman made four free throws in the stretch — and a 21-20 lead turned into a 36-24 deficit with 4:30 remaining.
“We like to go long stretches without field goals in the second half against Russia,” Meyer said with a sarcastic smile.
Whitney Pleiman hit shots at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth quarter, and six points by Poling and two by Cordonnier made it 36-24.
“I really thought we had the momentum,” Timmerman said. “But we didn’t handle their pressure and they hit their free throws.”
As she has done many times, Whiteman brought the Buccs back.
She scored 11 points in Covington’s 12-0 run — hitting a 3 with 1:11 to go to cut the Russia lead to 36-34, then hit a runner with 32 seconds to go to tie the game at 36-36.
“I really felt like our pressure on defense was the difference,” Meyer said. “Again, there is no quit in these kids.”
And Russia was flustered.
“It seems like we have been in that situation a lot,” Cordonnier said.
After running the clock down, Poling got the ball on the wing — and knew exactly where to go with it.
“Laurissa (Poling) and Jenna (Cordonnier) did a great job in that situation — even though no one wanted her (Laurissa Poling) to make that pass,” Timmerman said with a grin.
Then it was just a matter of holding their breaths at the end.
Cordonnier hit two 3-pointers in the first half and had 16 points and seven rebounds to lead Russia. Poling had 10 points and seven rebounds, Pleiman scored eight points and Cameo Wilson grabbed eight rebounds.
Whiteman finished with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. Lillian Hamilton scored seven points, while Tori Lyle and Lauren Christian grabbed five rebounds each.
Russia was 14 of 43 from the floor for 33 percent and eight of 11 from the line for 73 percent. Covington was 12 of 42 from the floor for 29 percent and 10 of 14 from the line for 71 percent.
Russia won the battle of the boards 31-24 and had 11 turnovers to Covington’s eight.
Covington (10-5) will host Greenville Thursday.
DAYTON — After an impressive win over Madison and a snowout over the weekend, Milton-Union got back to business on Tuesday night with an easy 63-19 victory at Northridge in Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division play.
Kristen Dickison outscored the Polar Bears on her own, leading the Bulldogs (6-7, 4-3 SWBL Buckeye) with 27 points. Morgan Nemeth added 12 points and Olivia Brown scored 10 to give Milton-Union three players in double figures. Jayla Gentry and Beyonce Bobbitt each added six points.
Milton-Union only allowed two first-quarter points, taking a 21-2 lead after one and a 44-7 lead at the half and coasting from there.
Milton-Union travels to Carlisle Saturday.
* Boys Basketball
EATON — Five different Red Devils reached double figures Tuesday night on the road, leading the Tippecanoe boys basketball team to its second straight win and fourth victory in its last five games, 80-6 at Eaton.
Tippecanoe (8-4) had an outstanding shooting night, going 34 for 49 (69.4 percent) from the field. Caiden Smith led the Devils with 20 points and four assists, Josh Wildermuth had 18 points and six assists off the bench, Noah Bledsoe added 11 points and Daniel Hagen and Tyler Skaggs both came off the bench to score 10 points. Cade Gingerich did a bit of everything with seven points, six rebounds and five assists and Zach Losey had two points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Tippecanoe travels to Stebbins Friday and hosts Bellbrook Saturday.
Other scores: Waynesville 68, Milton-Union (2-11, 0-6 SWBL Buckeye) 36.
TROY —The Troy bowling teams split a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division matchup against Sidney Tuesday at Troy Bowl, with the girls winning 2,369-1,701 and the boys falling 2,505-2,161.
Cassidy McMullen led the Trojan girls (7-1, 7-0 GWOC American North) by rolling 247-215—462. Jenna Stone rolled 196-232—428, A’leigha Smith rolled 189-201—390, Stephanie Crider rolled 180-175—355, Alyssa Shilt rolled a 222 game and Sierra Brown added a 185.
For Troy’s boys (7-1, 6-1 GWOC American North), Aaron Stone led the way with 247-216—463, Carson Rogers rolled 190-195—385, Preston Jackson rolled 179-178—357, Logan Jones rolled 149-173—322, Brian Joins added a 142 game and Jordan Fisher a 138 game.
Troy travels to Butler Thursday.
GREENVILLE — The Tippecanoe bowling teams split a road match at Greenville Tuesday, with the boys (7-3, 5-2 Greater western Ohio Conference American North Division) winning 2,242-2,015 and the girls (3-6, 2-5 GWOC American North) falling 1,506-1,490.
Tippecanoe will compete at the Pirate Challenge Saturday at Poelking South.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.