JANUARY 17, 2014 - NEW MADISON
The Covington Buccaneers ran into a buzz saw Friday night at Tri-Village in a 77-44 loss to the unbeaten Patriots.
And it was a case of two teams at different levels in regards to big game experience as Tri-Village fields a roster with several starters back from a regional final team of a year ago, while Covington has just one player with returning varsity experience.
The difference was evident early as Tri-Village countered everything Covington through at them defensively and built a 23-5 lead after one quarter of play.
"They hit some big shots early that took us out of some of the things we wanted to do defensively," said Covington coach Matt Pond. "We didn't get (Tyler) Cook fronted when we wanted and they took advantage. He's a load inside and tough on the boards."
Cook was virtually unstoppable inside, controlling the boards and scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half.
And when Covington adjusted for Cook, the Patriots made plays in other areas - canning big shots from the outside or scoring on drives to the basket.
The result was a 40-14 Patriot advantage at the break, which pleased Tri-Village coach Josh Sagaster, who felt his team got off to a fast start.
"We came out really well tonight," he said. "I wasn't so sure after the junior varsity game and seeing our guys in pre-game warmups. We had a nice chat in the locker room before the start and came out hot."
For Covington, a cold shooting first half was the last thing it needed against a team the caliber of Tri-Village.
"Offensively, we didn't get balls to drop early and that put us in a bind," Pond said. "They sped us up in the first half and made us play at their pace. We settled down and played a little better at our pace in the second half."
Like Covington has done all year, regardless of the circumstances, it played hard until the final buzzer.
And the relentless effort resulted into a stronger showing in the second half as the Buccs scored 30 points in the final two frames.
But it wasn't enough to keep pace with a Tri-Village team that has very high aspirations in regards to a league title and a possible trip to Columbus.
"They're good," praised Pond. "That's the top team in our league and to play them at their place is very tough."
Regardless of the defeat, the kids on the Covington roster can take it as a learning experience - an experience that will be beneficial down the line.
"Covington played hard and battled even though we took it to them," said Sagaster. "They didn't wilt and played a good second half. But that has a lot to do with coach
Matt Pond what he's trying to get accomplished and that's how you get better."
Pond felt the same.
"Hey, our kids continue to play hard and listen to what we are teaching," he said. "Believe me, that will pay dividends down the line here for our program."
And hopefully in the not too distant future the Buccs will be where Tri-Village is at now - one of the top teams in the area.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Covington - 5 .. 9 .. 16 .. 14 - 44
Tri-Village - 23 .. 17 .. 23 .. 14 - 77
Shooting - 17-49 (35%)
3pt - 4-18 (22%)
FT - 6-12 (50%)
18 Rebounds, 7 Offensive
Shooting - 31-43 (72%)
3pt - 8-15 (53%)
FT - 8-18 (44%)
35 Rebounds, 6 Offensive
Andre Benedict - 14
Austin Lefeld - 12
Tyler Henry - 10
Ty Boehringer - 2
Robert Gengler - 2
Seth Clark - 2
Jordan Maschino - 2
Colton Linkous - 21
Tyler Cook - 16
Camion Cook - 14
Mason McCabe - 11
Tommy Bell - 6
Tyler VanWinkle - 5
Gavin Richards - 3
Brandon Peters - 2