JANUARY 10, 2014 - BRANDT
The 54-37 outcome at Bethel goes into the books as a loss for Covington, but it doesn't tell the entire story of a Buccaneer team that only knows how to play one way - hard.
"We lost, but it wasn't for a lack of effort," said Covington coach Matt Pond. "Our kids played hard."
Consider, Bethel jumped out to a 19-3 lead after one and pushed the margin to 22-3 at the beginning of the second quarter, but Covington battled back to cut the deficit to ten early in the fourth quarter and had the Bees frustrated.
That frustration resulted in a technical foul that sent Bethel point guard Christian Pfledderer to the bench with his fifth foul and had the Bees looking for answers.
"We'll do whatever we have to do to win," Pond said. "That's our mindset. We'll go down in flames trying to win and that's what our kids did tonight - try to win."
Unfortunately for Covington, Bethel has one of the premier - if not the premier playing in the Cross County Conference in 6'3" senior Patrick Bain.
Bain took over in the fourth quarter immediately after Pfledderer fouled out by going coast-to-coast for a layup off of a steal. He was fouled in the process and converted on the free throw to give Bethel momentum it wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way.
"Real good player," Pond praised of Bain, who scored a game-high 22 points. "He became the difference tonight."
And so was the first quarter as Covington couldn't throw it into an ocean from anywhere on the floor. The only offense the Buccaneers received was a short laying by Robert Gengler and a free throw as Covington found itself behind 19-3 after one.
"The first quarter hurt," Pond said. "If we could have that one back this would have been a different game."
Still, Covington didn't sulk or dwell on its unfortunate circumstances. Instead, the Buccs picked up the intensity and gradually chipped away at the deficit - closing the gap to 28-12 at the break and 37-24 after three quarters of play.
But the clock wasn't on Covington's side as it had to fouled Bethel down the stretch and the Bees converted on the free throws to preserve the win.
"Like I told the kids after the game, we played with them for three quarters," said Pond. "Now we have to find a way to put four quarters together."
Covington struggled from the floor, shooting just 33% on the night (13-40) and 27% from behind the arc (4-15).
Meanwhile, Bethel was 18 of 47 for 38% from the floor and 4 of 13 from three-point range for 31%. The Bees also did damage from the free throw line, converting on 13 of 17 attempts.
Bethel held a 31-28 advantage on the boards and a 13-10 edge at the offensive end. The Bees also took care of the basketball better than Covington with nine turnovers to 14 for the Buccs.
Covington looks to rebound tomorrow night at New Bremen.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington - 3 … 12 … 24 … 37
Bethel - 19 … 28 … 37 … 53
Andre Benedict - 9
Austin Lefeld - 6
Tyler Henry - 6
Ethan Meyer - 5
Ty Boehringer - 5
Robert Gengler - 4
Tyler Clark - 2
Patrick Bain - 22
Jason Clendening - 11
Christian Pfledderer - 11
Julian Brooks - 3
Christian Hagen - 2
Devin Hazley - 2
Evan Howathorne - 2
Covington: Benedict (2), Lefeld (1), Meyer (1)
Bethel: Pfledderer (2), Clendening (1), Brooks (1)