By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Graham and Milton-Union advanced to Saturday night’s finals of the inaugural Buccaneer Holiday Classic on Friday at Covington High School, while the host Covington Buccaneers will play neighboring rival Newton in the consolation game at 4:30.
Milton opened the varsity boys action with a convincing 53-38 win over Newton thanks to a balanced scoring effort with Aaron Stone leading the charge with 12 points, Sam Case dropping in 11 points and AJ Lovin scoring 10 points.
Newton was led by Chet Jamison and Kleyson Wehrley, who each dropped in 11 points a piece.
The contest was back-and-forth early on with the game being tied at 12 a piece after one and then Newton talking a 19-18 lead at the break.
But Milton found the hot hand in the third period to outscore the Indians 22-8 in the frame thanks to a pair of treats by Case and another by Caleb Wintrow.
It was enough to give Milton a commanding 40-27 lead into the final frame, a margin Newton couldn’t overcome in the final eight minutes.
In the nightcap, Graham and host Covington took to the floor in what turned into a physical, fast paced contest.
The Buccaneers led 11-6 after one on the strength of three-pointers by Tyler Fraley, Zach Kuntz and Kleyton Maschino, but Graham’s Brady King took over the contest in the second quarter by scoring 15 of his game-high 25 points in the frame.
This led to a 26-22 lead for the Falcons at the break.
Graham continued with its hot shooting steak to start the second half, but it came from a different Falcon player as Eli Palmer scored 12 points in the third to spark a 20-10 scoring advantage in the session for a 46-32 lead with one quarter to play.
Much like the previous game between Newton and Milton-Union, the double-digit margin was too much to overcome for Covington in the final eight-minutes as Graham crushed to the 63-49 win.
Covington was led in scoring by Andrew Cates, who was the lone Buccaneer in double figures with 17 points.
King, of course, led Graham with a game-high 25 points, while Palmer contributed with 14 points.
Covington plays Newton in the consolation game tomorrow at 4:30, while Graham hooks up with Milton-Union at 7:30.