DECEMBER 23, 2013 - PLEASANT HILL
There was a little uneasiness for Covington coach Matt Pond prior to his team taking the floor against rival Newton on Monday.
That's because he was unsure how his inexperienced team would respond from a tough loss to Miami East on Friday after just watching the Lady Buccs drop a heartbreaker to Newton minutes earlier.
"I knew the kids were prepared, but you wonder how the kids will respond after the loss to East and then after watching the girls lose," said Pond. "Their crowd was into it after the girls game and you worry about your kids coming out and matching that emotion."
Pond's worries were eased early, despite some of his starters getting into some early foul trouble.
That's because the defensive pressure his team put on Newton was relentless and several bench players picked up the slack of the players in early foul trouble.
"I thought our kids were aggressive and scrappy," said Pond. "We got into transition early and hit some big shot. Tyler Clark and Ethan Meyer both came in a played very well when we got into some early fouled trouble."
It helped Covington take control of the game early as it built an 18-13 lead despite two huge treys by Newton.
The Buccs then outscored Newton 14-8 in the second quarter to push the lead to 32-21 at the break.
"We came out and pressed early and got some things going," Pond explained. "I like the way our kids responded in the first half coming off a tough loss to Miami East."
With a solid first half behind them, the Buccaneers dominated the second half by outscoring the Indians 31-18 for the 63-39 win.
And it was a complete team effort as 11 of the 12 players on the Buccaneer roster scored on the night.
"All in all, this was the most complete team effort we've had this season," Pond said. "Everyone came in and did something positive for us. It didn't matter who was out on the floor tonight, we didn't miss a beat."
Andre Benedict lead Covington with a game-high 16 points, while Austin Lefeld scored a career-high 14 points, nine of them coming on three treys.
As a team, Covington converted on 48% of its shots from the floor by making 23 of 48 attempts. The Buccs were also 7 of 17 from behind the arc for 41% and 10 of 19 from the free throw line for 53%.
Newton was 13 of 37 from the floor for 35%, 4 of 20 from behind the arc for 20% and 9 of 13 from the free throw line for 69%.
But the biggest indication of Covington dominance was on the boards as Covington pulled down 32 total rebounds to just 21 for Newton and held an 11-2 rebounding advantage at the offensive end.
"Our strength inside was a big advantage," Pond said. "I felt we controlled things inside the paint."
Covington prides itself on taking care of the basketball, but Newton's quickness resulted into 13 Buccaneer turnovers.
Still, it was able to respond to adversity and grow as a team with a great team effort.
"We keep improving with each game," said Pond. "That's our focus, to improve each time we take the floor. And the kids are responding."
The win boosts Covington's record to 2-4 overall as it prepares for the Piqua Holiday Tournament next weekend.
Newton is still looking for its first win and will get another opportunity to do just that before the end of 2013 as it travels to Dixie on saturday.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington - 18 .. 32 .. 48 .. 63
Newton - 13 .. 21 .. 30 .. 39
Andre Benedict - 16
Austin Lefeld - 14
Ethan Meyer - 9
Tyler Clark - 7
Tyler Henry - 4
Seth Clark - 3
Nathan Blei - 2
Robert Gengler - 2
Josh Earick - 2
Drew Schaurer - 2
Ty Boerhinger - 2
Brady McBride - 11
Cody Alexander - 9
Tyler Filburn - 7
Brock Jamison - 4
Reid Ferrell - 3
Treyton Levy - 2
Levi Armentrout - 2
Covington: Austin Lefeld (3), Andre Benedict (2), Tyler Clark (1), Ethan Meyer (1)
Newton: Brady McBride (2), Tyler Filburn (1), Reid Ferrell (1)