By Ben Robinson
When it comes to tournament basketball, sometimes getting the first win is the biggest.
And despite playing an Ansonia team it defeated 57-38 three weeks ago, there were no guarantees for a Covington team that has won just two of the six games it played since that victory over the Tigers on Feb. 3.
This time around it was much closer throughout, but Covington was able to pull out a 48-40 win in Piqua D-IV sectional tournament action.
Covington will play Jackson Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in second round action.
In what was a slow start by both teams, Covington was able to jump out to a 4-0 lead on buckets by Kenny Atkinson and Trevor Miller.
Ansonia then went on a 7-0 run capped by a trey by Devyn Sink to force a quick Buccaneer timeout.
Atkinson responded with a trey of his own for Covington to tie the score and then connected on a layup followed by a Miller jumper to give the Buccs a 13-7 lead after one.
Covington maintained its advantage for much of the second quarter until a late run by Ansonia close the gap to 21-20 at the break.
The Buccaneers took over the game inside the paint in the third quarter – using the size advantage of Miller and Atkinson inside. The result was a 16-10 scoring advantage for Covington in the frame with Miller and Atkinson accounting for 11 of the 16 points in the stanza.
Leading 37-30 with one quarter to play, Covington used the clock to its advantage in the fourth by spreading the floor and forcing Ansonia to chase. This led to several back-door cuts to the basket for easy layups and eventual opportunities at the free throw line where the Buccs connected on six of ten freebees at the charity stripe in the final minutes.
In all, Covington shot 40 percent from the floor (17 of 42), 30 percent from behind the arc (3 of 10) and 65 percent from the free throw line (11 of 17).
Ansonia shot 37 percent from the floor (15 of 41), 25 percent from long range (7 of 28) and just 43 percent from the charity stripe (3 of 7).
Covington held a significant scoring advantage inside the paint (26-12) and pulled down 34 rebounds to just 21 for Ansonia. The Buccaneers also held an 11-6 rebounding edge on the offensive glass.
The Tiger defense did give Covington fits throughout the contest as it forced 12 Buccaneer turnovers – 11 coming on steals. Ansonia has eight turnovers as a team.
Kenny Atkinson, Trevor Miller and Jayce Pond each led the Buccaneers with 13 points – tying for game-high honors.
Ansonia was led in scoring by Devyn Sink with 11 points and a nine-point effort by Ayden Saunders.
With a very important first tournament win under its belt, Covington looks to take the next step on Tuesday night against Jackson Center, who defeated Mississinawa Valley 47-39 Friday night.