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The toughness of Jordan Crowell (above) and the grit of the entire Lady Bucc roster was the reason Covington was able to record a 36-27 win over Jackson Center on Saturday.

Shots were hard to come by for Sammi Whiteman, but she still managed to do the little things needed to help her team come away with a win over Jackson Center.

2017-18 SCHEDULE

Nov 24
Nov 25
Nov 30
Dec 2
Dec 4
Dec 7
Dec 12
Dec 18
Dec 21
Dec 27
Dec 30
Jan 4
Jan 8
Jan 11
Jan 16
Jan 18
Jan 20
Jan 25
Jan 27
Jan 30
Feb 1
Feb 8
Feb 17
Feb 20
Feb 27

Mar 1
Mar 8

@ Houston
@ TV South
@ Versailles
@ Arcanum
@ Newton (No JV)
@ Franklin Monroe
Mississinawa Valley
Springfield Shawnee
@ Troy
@ Milton Union

@ Ansonia
@ Russia
@ Miami East
Jackson Center
National Trail
TC North (Sen. Night)
National Trail
Twin Valley South
Franklin Monroe
Legacy Christian
Fort Loramie

W 45-41
W 60-29
W 53-25
L 39-60
W 50-21
W 34-32
W 46-42
L 35-51
W 66-40
L 36-51
W 42-28
L 42-52
W 43-35
W 67-51
L 36-38
W 50-33
W 61-37
L 40-52
W 36-27
W 64-42
W 71-44
W 68-34
W 57-40
W 44-24
W 56-44
W 54-42
L 27-32





Miami East



Tri-Village 11-1 18-4
Franklin Monroe 9-3 19-3
Covington 9-3 16-6
Arcanum 8-4 12-9
Newton 7-5 15-6
Bethel 4-6 11-9
Bradford 4-8 7-13
Twin Valley South 4-8 7-13
Ansonia 3-9 5-17
Tri-County North 2-8 8-11
National Trail 2-10 5-16
Mississinawa Valley 0-12 0-21

The Covington girls basketball program prides itself on defense, so much so that Lady Bucc coach Jim Meyer wasted little time praising Jackson Center for its defensive effort on Saturday.

"I thought this was the most aggressive defense we've faced all year," praised Meyer of Jackson Center. "They really got after it defensively and I thought they did a nice job of denying us and getting in our face."

And the defensive spark plug for Jackson Center was Kennadie Reese, who was in the face of Sammi Whiteman, Covington's leading scorer.

"She (Reese) is a good ball player and obviously she took it as a challenge to guard Sammi," Meyer explained. "She made things tough out there for Sammi."

Whiteman did finish with 10 points on the afternoon and Covington was able to win 36-27.

And it's because others stepped up their offensive games, including sophomore Kenzie Long, who matched Whiteman with a team-high 10 points.

"Kenzie's two threes early on were big," Meyer said. "She's been struggling shooting lately - been really reluctant to take shots - and for her to hit those two threes early were huge for her confidence. You have to have other people step up and Kenzie did that today."

Covington struggled finding an open shot early thanks to the pressure applied by the Jackson Center defense and the Tigers built a 8-2 lead with Lauren Christian scoring the lone Lady Bucc basket over the first 6:00 of the game.

But after a timeout Covington was able to cut the deficit to 10-6 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a timely trey by Jordan Crowell.

The Lady Buccs then dropped in four more treys, a pair of buckets and two free throws in the second to outscore Jackson Center 18-8.

"We knew coming in that Jackson Center has trouble scoring," said Meyer. "It didn't look that way early though. They were getting too many boards early because we were standing too much. We started hitting the boards in the second quarter and things changed."

And things changed quickly as Long scored eight of her ten points with a pair of threes and two free throws. Whiteman hit a jumper and a three, while Crowell hit her second trey of the half followed by a Tori Lyle stick back.

But the 24-18 halftime lead came at a cost as Jordan Crowell aggravated her previously injured ankle and wasn't a sure thing to return to the game in the second half.

"Jordan, she tweaked it again pretty bad today, so she might be a game-time decision on Tuesday," said an obviously concerned Covington coach of Crowell's injury. "That's something we are going to have to watch going forward."

Fortunately Crowell was able to give it a go in the second half and ultimately provided the Lady Buccs with several quality minutes.

"She's a gamer," continued Meyer of Crowell. "Every minute is important to her and she obviously didn't want to come off the floor. She'll give you as much as she can when she's on the court."

Crowell's presence and toughness on the court inspired the Lady Buccs as they outscored Jackson Center 10-4 in the third quarter - holding the Lady Tigers to a Madilynn Platfoot field goal and two free throws by Olivia Clark.

Whiteman scored on a pair of baskets, while Lyle and Lauren Christian dropped in baskets and Long hit two free throws to push the Lady Bucc lead to 34-22 with 8:00 to play.

And knowing his team was at a disadvantage due to Crowell's injury and the fact that Jackson Center doesn't light up the scoreboard on a nightly bases, Meyer and the Lady Buccs took the air out of the basketball in the fourth quarter.

What transpired was an eight-minute span that looked more like a hockey game than a basketball game with bodies falling to the floor on each possession.

And Covington gave as good as it received thanks to the physical play of Lauren Christian and Lilly Hamilton inside the paint against Jackson Center's big post player Olivia Clark.

"Lauren and Lilly both did a great job on the Clark girl," beamed Meyer of his two bigs. "She's an athletic and mobile post player and for Lauren and Lilly to stay with her was big. Lauren pulled down some big rebounds."

But the straw that stirs the drink for Covington is Sammi Whiteman.

Yes, she was held to 10 points, but she was able to set her teammates up for success with timely passes and made it difficult for Jackson Center to get back into the game late due to her ball security while handling the basketball against the pressure.

"That's Sammi," Meyer said simply. "Sammy being Sammi."

The win boosts Covington's record to 13-6 on the season as it hopes for improved health before hosting Bethel on Tuesday.

Covington coach Jim Meyer talks strategy with his gilrs in between the third and fourth quarters.

Jackson Center - 10 .. 18 .. 22 .. 27
Covington - 6 .. 24 .. 34 .. 36

Makenzie Long - 10
Sammi Whiteman - 10
Jordan Crowell - 6
Tori Lyle - 4
Lauren Christian - 4
Lilly Hamilton - 2

Olivia Clark - 11
Kylie Hartle - 10
Madelyn Plafoot - 4
Kennadie Reese - 2

Covington - Makenzie Long (2), Jordan Crowell (2), Sammi Whiteman (1)
Jackson Center - Kylie Hartle (2), Olivia Clark (1)

Lauren Christian makes a pass inside the paint that leads to a Lady Bucc basket in the second half.

Kenzie Long knocks down one of her two treys on her way to 10 points on the day.