By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
COVINGTON — The Bradford girls executed at the start and the finish.
And that was enough to pick up a 48-34 win despite a gutty effort by Covington in CCC action Saturday afternoon.
The Railroaders had jumped out to a 23-4 first quarter lead, before Covington outpointed them 30-25 the rest of the way and got as close as 10 in the fourth quarter.
“We hit some shots early,” Bradford girls basketball coach Chris Besecker said. “We really didn’t (play that well the last three quarters).”
Covington coach Brandon Studebaker was not surprised by his team’s effort — despite losing sophomore standout Makenzee Maschino for the season with a knee injury in the second game.
“For sure (he was proud of his team’s effort),” Studebaker said. “That’s one thing about these kids. Regardless of the score, they never quit.”
Covington opened the game with a box-and-one on high scoring Bradford sophomore guardAusty Miller.
“We were expecting that,” Besecker said.
The only problem was Cassie Mead blew up that strategy by hitting two quick threes.
Rylie Canan hit two, including forgetting to call the bank on one — and Abby Gade added one in the opening quarter as the Railroaders broke out to the 23-4 lead.
“We want to focus on Austy Miller,” Studebaker said. “And then, of course, Cassie Mead hits two 3-pointers. We really didn’t want to go to a triangle-and-two, so we switched to a man defense with help.”
And while that slowed the Railroaders down, they were still up 34-14 at halftime. Covington began to get untracked offensively as Morgan Kimmel scored six points.
The Buccs then limited Bradford to 14 points in the second half.
“I thought we took a lot of questionable shots,” Besecker said. “I thought we made a lot of bad decisions with the ball. Hopefully, we will (learn from the game). We just have to do a better job of executing our halfcourt offense.”
Covington adjusted its defense as the game went on — rotating Claire Fraley and Josie Crowell.
“It is always a question of what to do with our two bigs, when we play a team like Bradford that just has one,” Studebaker said. “We finally decided to only play one at a time and I think that helped.”
Bradford led 42-24 after three quarters, but struggled to slow Kimmel down.
She added six more points in the third quarter and scored five quick points in the fourth quarter. When Josie Crowell hit a three, Covington was within 44-32 with 4:34 to play.
Claudia Harrington added two free throws to make it 44-34 — but Kimmel, who finished with 17 points to lead all scorers — went down with an injury in the fourth quarter. She left the court under her own power, but did not return.
“Morgan (Kimmel) was a weapon out there,” Studebaker said. “It was kind of a punch in the gut when she went down.”
With the Buccs back within 10 and Covington having only four fouls, Besecker elected to pull the ball out the last three minutes and run the clock.
“I thought that was the thing to do at that point,” Besecker said. “Try and take away their momentum. And we did a good job of executing that.”
Miller hit four straight free throws in the closing minutes for the final margin.
“We didn’t really want to foul,” Studebaker said. “We wanted to be aggressive and try to force a mistake.”
Crowell added seven points to the Covington cause and Ellie Hedges added six.
Miller, Rylie Canan and Mead all finished with 13 points for Bradford — with Mead scoring all 13 in the first half.
Bradford improved to 4-1 overall and and in the CCC with the win, while Covington dropped to 2-5 overall ad 2-1 in the CCC.
Austy Miller 3-6-13, Emma Canan 0-2-2, Rylie Canan 5-0-13, Cassie Mead 5-0-13, Remi Harleman 2-0-4, Abby Gade 1-0-3, Abby Fike 0-0-0. Totals: 16-8-48.
Morgan Lowe 1-0-2, Morgan Kimmel 6-5-17, Claudia Harrington 0-2-2, Claire Fraley 0-0-0, Josie Crowell 3-0-7, Ellie Hedges 3-0-6, Meg Rogers 0-0-0. Totals: 13-7-34.
3-point field goals — Bradford: Miller, Mead (3), Rylie Canan (3), Gade.
Score By Quarters
Bradford 23 34 42 48
Covington 4 14 24 34
Records: Bradford 4-1 (4-1), Covington 2-5 (2-1).
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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