By Ben Robinson
PLEASANT HILL — After suffering defeats to two very talented teams at home against Franklin Monroe and Versailles to start the season, the Covington Buccaneers traveled to rival Newton on Tuesday in the night cap of a boys and girls varsity double-header.
With both teams looking for their first win of the season, the game was hotly contested throughout as the largest lead by either team was seven points early in the fourth quarter in a game that ended up being decided on the final possession.
Neither team could find much offense early as the score was knotted at 2-2 until a Bradley Wiggins trey gave Covington a 5-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
After a pair of Newton buckets by Kleyson Wehrley, Zach Parrett followed with six straight Buccaneer points to push the Buccaneer lead to 11-6.
Greg Jackson then closed out the opening frame with a short runner to make the score 11-8 in favor of Covington after one.
Both teams caught fire in the second quarter as the pace of the game increased.
Six Buccaneers found the scoring column in the frame for a combined 15 points, while a pair of treys and a layup by Ryan Mollette combined with buckets by Nash Lavy, James Whittaker and Kleyson Wehrley followed by a free throw by Andrew Whittaker made the score a one-point game at the break – 26-25 in favor of Covington.
Things unraveled offensively for Covington in the third quarter as it could only mange four points in the frame on a pair of buckets by Zach Parrett.
Fortunately for the Buccs, the defensive effort kept Covington in the game as it limited Newton to just nine points of its own on a trey and a bucket by Wehrley and a pair of baskets by Chet Jamison to give the Indians a 34-30 lead with 8:00 left to play.
Newton pushed its lead to 39-32 early in the fourth, but a huge trey by Bradley Wiggins and another by Zach Parrett in between a Ryan Mollette layup closed the gap to three points.
As the time dwindled down, the Indians widened the floor to force the Buccaneers to foul. Newton look advantage by connecting on 10 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, but Covington was able to hit some big shots of its own to stay in the game.
Finally, with Newton leading 51-48 after a Buccaneer bucket by Nathan Lyle, Covington got the stop it needed and had the ball with a chance to tie with 12 second left.
Unfortunately for Covington, a three-point attempt by Bradley Wiggins from in front of the Buccaneer bench bounced off the rim as time expired – sealing a 51-48 win for Newton as the home fans spilled on the floor in celebration.
Leading the way for the Indians was sophomore Kleyson Wehrley, who scored a game-high 18 points. Ryan Mollette contributed 15 points in support.
Zach Parrett led Covington with 17 points, while Braden Miller had 12.
For Newton, it’s the first win in five tries as it improves to 1-4 on the season with a road contest awaiting at Tri-Village on Friday.
Covington drops to 0-3 on its season as it continues to look for its first win on Friday at Bradford.