By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — The Covington boys basketball team started off a new year and a new decade in style with an exciting 70-57 win over Twin Valley South on Friday to improve to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the CCC.
And it was a fast start by senior Kleyton Maschino that got the Buccaneers rolling as he scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the opening frame – six points coming on two clutch treys and four points coming on layups off of steals.
Which was desperately needed as Twin Valley South’s Brayden Marker was on fire throughout the contest as he scored a game-high 25 points for the Panthers. Marker tallied eight points in the opening frame with two three-pointers and a runner to keep the Panthers within striking distance after one, 19-14.
But the Buccaneers room control of the game in the second period thanks to balanced scoring and a stellar defensive effort on Marker. The Buccaneers held the Panther sharp shooter without a field goal and just four successful free throws over the remainder of the half.
Offensively, Jake Hamilton sparked Covington with a dunk off of a steal to go along with a trey and a jumper. Spencer Brumbaugh hit on a pair of runners, while Wes Gooding and Zach Kuntz hit own treys and Kleyton Maschino connected on a runner of his own.
It all led to a 39-26 lead for Covington at the break, but Twin Valley South has a long standing reputation of scoring points in bunches under long-time coach Tony Augspurger – known as “The Dean of the CCC”.
And Augspurger’s team did just that in the third period as Brayden Marker and Levi Gearhart combined for three treys to spark a 15-12 scoring advantage for the Panthers to cut the margin to 51-41 with 8:00 left to play.
But Covington was able to weather the storm as Maschino dropped in eight of the Buccaneers’ 19 points in the final frame to preserve the 70-57 win on the home floor.
A big factor in the outcome was Covington’s ability to get to the free throw line and knock down free throws. In all, the Buccaneers converted 16 of 21 free throws, while Twin Valley South managed just eight points on 11 free throws,
Brayden Marker was impressive for South with his 25 points, but the Buccaneers were able to limit the rest of the roster to a measly 32 combined points.
Maschino led the Buccs with 22 points, but the overall scoring was as balanced as Covington has had all season with Jake Hamilton dropping in 16 points and Kadin Presser contributing with 13 points.
Spencer Brumbaugh managed four points on the night, but his impact on the game wasn’t determined by how many buckets he made. Brumbaugh’s impact was in his ability to beat the pressure of the Panther defense to get Covington into its half court offense.
In all, it was a solid team effort for Covington as it looks for continued improvement next Tuesday at Tri-County North.