DECEMBER 17, 2013 - NEW PARIS
After suffering two straight losses by a total of eight points, the Covington Buccaneers needed a win in the worst way.
And Tuesday's 43-38 win over National Trail couldn't have come at a better time and in a better fashion as Covington was able to do what it had failed to do in the last two games - finish.
"That we did," said Covington coach Matt Pond of his team finishing the game strong. "They (National Trail) took a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, but (Ty) Boehringer came down and hit a huge three. (Austin) Lefeld hit two big free throws and (Tyler) Henry hit two. We faced some adversity and our kids fought through it."
And the Buccs were able to fight through it by hitting clutch free throws and rebounding the basketball down the stretch, two areas that cost Covington in a one-point loss to Tri-County North in the previous outing.
"We're eight points from being 3-1 instead of 1-3, but the great thing is our kids are learning from their mistakes," Pond said. "We know we are going to have to earn every victory and we wouldn't want it any other way."
Inconsistency cost Covington early as each time the Buccs would gain some momentum, National Trail would respond with big shots of its own.
"We were very inconsistent in the first half," explained Pond. "It was back-and-forth and we never could go on big run to shake them."
Still, Covington held a 24-20 lead at the break and clung to a 30-27 lead after three quarters of action.
National Trail then got on a nice run to claim a three-point lead midway through the fourth quarter until the big trey by Boehringer lit the spark Covington needed down the stretch.
"This was a big win for our kids," Pond said. "It's good to see them rewarded for their hard work. We still need to continue to improve because we have a big one on Friday against (Miami) East."
Covington converted on 12 of 37 from the floor for 37%, five of 13 from behind the arc (39%) and made 14 of 21 free throws (67%).
National Trail was 14 of 36 from the floor (39%), four of 13 from three-point range (31%) and six of 14 from the line (43%).
Covington tallied 23 rebounds overall with nine coming at the offensive end, while National Trail had eight offensive boards and 24 overall.
The Buccs only turned the ball over seven times in the contest, while National Trail committed nine turnovers.
With its first win in four tries under its belt, Covington looks to make it two in a row on Friday at home against Miami East.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington - 11 .. 24 .. 30 .. 43
National Trail - 11 .. 20 .. 27 .. 38
Andre Benedict - 10
Tyler Henry - 9
Austin Lefeld - 7
Ethan Meyer - 6
Ty Boehringer - 5
Robert Gengler - 4
Josh Earick - 2
NATIONAL TRAIL SCORING:
Bailey Stewart - 16
Michael Bane - 10
Nick Davis - 4
Nicholas Nakis - 4
Kyle Bachman - 3
Josh Baker - 1
Covington: Meyer (2), Boehringer, Benedict, Lefeld
National Trail: Bane (2), Stewart (2)