By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
It was a matchup of two teams with high hopes of making a tournament run.
And two of the top players in the area in Miami East’s Morgan Haney and Covington’s Sammi Whiteman.
And neither disappointed as Miami East opened a 36-19 halftime lead and held on for a 66-57 victory Thursday night at Covington High School.
“We needed this game bad tonight,” Miami East coach Bruce Vanover said. “We took Fort Loramie into overtime last Saturday, then we just took a beating against Tri-Village. The girls came out ready to play from the start.”
Haney finished the game with 38 points, hitting 13 of 19 shots from the floor and nine of 10 from the line. She scored 18 in the opening half and added 20 in the second half.
“Not bad for a girl that wasn’t feeling good all day, she told me before the game she was feeling better,” Vanover said with a smile.
Whiteman countered with 29 points for Covington, including 19 in the second half.
“The kids showed a lot of heart,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said. “Give Miami East credit. They came out ready to play. You can’t let a player like Morgan Haney score 38 points. It was tough when our two best defenders got in foul trouble and we were having to run the Morgans (Morgan Lowe, Morgan Kimmel) in and out of the game.”
Despite the 17-point halftime lead, Vanover wasn’t feeling the game was over.
“I told our kids, if you think this game is over, you are crazy,” Vanover said. “Jim Meyer is a good coach and he makes good adjustments.”
And he can tell a good story.
“When we came in at halftime, I told the girls about my daughter’s (Andrea Meyer Westfall) senior year,” he said. “Covington was down double digits at halftime against Miami East and it came down to a last second shot.”
Covington opened the second half with a 3-point play by Whiteman and a three by Claudia Harrington.
But Miami East countered with a three by Haney and a basket by Whitley Gross and was still up 41-25 with 4:59 left in the quarter when the game changed.
Whiteman hit a three, Harrington hit two more, Morgan Kimmel hit two free throws and Whiteman had a putback to get the Buccs within 43-38 with 1:30 to go.
“We felt like we were right back where we wanted to be going to the fourth quarter,” Meyer said.
Vanover decided to stop Covington’s momentum by holding the ball for the last shot and Haney buried a three to make it 46-38 going to the fourth quarter.
“I thought about calling timeout,” Vanover said. “but coach Gump (assistant coach Kevin Gump) said we can run Buckeye and save a timeout. That three by Morgan (Haney) was huge.”
The other pivotal moment came midway through the fourth quarter.
After Miami East had switched to a man defense, Camryn Miller and Haney both had four fouls and when Whiteman hit two free throws at the 4:50 mark, Covington was within 52-45.
“He made a good adjustment against our zone in the second half,” Vanover said. “And they were kicking the ball to (Claudia) Harrington in the corner for threes. We just wanted to take away Sammi (Whiteman) making that pass to Harrington in the corner.”
But, East responded with six points in less than a minute and Covington could not get close again.
Maria Staton and Rori Hunley hit open jumpers and Haney had a steal and a layup to take the lead back to double digits.
“We switched our offense and were able to get a couple really good looks there,” Vaanover said.
Miller added nine points for Miami East and Hunley and Staton both scored seven. Whitley Gross pulled down eight rebounds.
Whiteman also grabbed eight rebounds and Harrington had 12 points and six rebounds.
Lillian Hamilton grabbed 10 rebounds and Lauren Christian scored six points.
Miami East was 23 of 46 from the floor for 50 percent and 15 of 19 from the line for 79 percent.
Covington was 19 of 57 from the floor for 33 percent and 10 of 17 from the line for 59 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 33-25, but had 10 turnovers to East’s seven.
Miami East, 14-6 overall and 10-2 in the CCC, plays Tippecanoe Monday.
Covington, 15-3 overall and 8-2 in the CCC, has a makeup game with Ansonia Monday.
Miami East (66)
Morgan Haney 13-9-38, Rori Hunley 3-0-7, Camryn Miller 3-2-9, Maria Staton 3-1-7, Whitley Gross 1-1-3, Cadence Gross 0-2-2, Emily Adkins 0-0-0. Totals: 23-15-66.
Morgan Lowe 1-1-3, Sammi Whiteman 10-7-29, Morgan Kimmel 1-3-5, Claudia Harrington 4-0-12, Lauren Christian 2-2-6, Lillian Hamilton 1-0-2, Makenzee Maschino 0-0-0. Totals: 19-13-57.
3-point field goals — Miami East: Haney (3), Hunley, Miller. Covington: Whiteman (2), Harrington (4).
Score By Quarters
Miami East 14 36 46 66
Covington 8 19 38 57
Records: Miami East 14-6 (10-2), Covington 15-3 (8-2).
Reserve score: Miami East 36, Covington 30.