By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — The Covington Buccaneers played host to New Bremen on Tuesday in what was a makeup game from one cancelled earlier in the year due to weather.
And despite entering the contest with a 1-17 overall record and a young varsity roster, the visiting Cardinals gave the Buccaneers all they could handle and then some – erasing a double digit Covington lead from early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 39-39 with 3:02 left in the game.
After a timeout to regroup, Covington went on an 12-0 run in less than three minutes to seal the deal.
Kenny Atkinson got things rolling after the timeout with a jumper and Jayce Pond scored on a layup on back-to-back possessions. Trevor Miller hit one of two free throws after being fouled driving into the lane and Nathan Blei connected on a trey to push Covington’s advantage to 47-39 with 1:28 left to play – forcing New Bremen to take a timeout of its own.
After getting a defensive stop following the short delay, Covington spaced out the floor and ate over one minute off the clock until New Bremen was able to foul Kenny Atkinson. The senior calmly knocked down two free throws and then Jayce Pond stole a pass for an easy layup to push the lead to 51-39 with sevens seconds left.
New Bremen managed to connect on a bucket at the buzzer to make the final score 51-41 in favor of the Buccaneers, who improved to 11-9 on the season.
But getting to that point was a challenge for Covington as every time the Buccaneers made a run the young Cardinals responded.
Trevor Miller and Nathan Blei got Covington rolling early as the duo combined for nine points in the opening frame to spark a 12-9 Buccaneer advantage.
Blei opened the second with a pair of buckets surrounded by a runner by New Bremen and then Pond followed with a three-pointer to make the score 20-11 in favor of Covington. This forced a Cardinal timeout with 4:40 left in the half.
The Buccaneers wouldn’t be able to score over the remainder of the half, however, and New Bremen managed to cut the deficit to 20-15 at the break.
Once again, Covington opened up the second half on fire, surging to a 35-26 lead by quarter’s end as Trevor Miller scored seven points in the frame. Jayce Pond converted a steal into a layup, while Zach Parrett hit a runner and Atkinson knocked down a jumper.
After a New Bremen bucket to start the fourth, Covington pushed its lead to 39-28 on back-to-back buckets by Atkinson and Pond.
But New Bremen was able to go on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to tie the score at 39-39 with a couple of ticks over three minutes left.
This set up a gut check situation for a senior laden Buccaneer team and Covington was up to the challenge by finishing the game on a 12-2 run.
Four Buccaneers finished with double figures in scoring as Miller and Pond tied for a game-high 14 points each. Kenny Atkinson had 11 and Nathan Blei finished with 10 points.
With back-to-back wins in the last two outings, Covington looks to keep the momentum rolling in the final home game of the season against Mississinawa Valley Friday.