By Rob Kiser
CASSTOWN — Covington girls basketball coach Jim Meyer pretended to bow down to senior Lexie Long as she emerged from the locker room after the Lady Buccs 56-34 win over Urbana Friday in the Barnball Classic at Miami East High School, bringing a smile to Long’s face.
Long’s effort was deserving of such recognition — but truth be told, Meyer would say the same about every girl on his team for what they have accomplished so far.
Despite him just taking over this fall, the Lady Buccs improved to 9-1, their best start in years.
“I really didn’t know these girls,” Meyer said. “They just do everything you ask. These kids just have so much heart. I can’t say enough about that.”
And Friday, playing for the second straight night, was no exception.
Covington had a long road trip Thursday in a win over Mississinawa Valley.
“You know, we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for this game,” Meyer said. “The girls watched some tape on the bus ride over here. And they came out and understood exactly what they needed to do.”
Which, first and foremost, was find Urbana guard Hunter Rogan.
The 5-foot-7 senior came in averaging 26.4 points per game and had scored 43 in a win over Piqua recently.
With Long and Justice Warner in her face all game, the Lady Buccs held her to 15 points and were in front from the outset.
“We came out and wanted to stop Rogan,” Meyer said. “Justice (Warner) and Lexie (Long) did a great job. Normally, we would go with Justice and Addison (Metz). But, with her size, we felt like Lexie would do a good job on her.”
Long’s length presented problems for Rogan — and the 5-8 senior responded with her best game offensively, scoring in double figures for the second straight game with 14 points and six rebounds.
“She (Lexie Long) has been working hard in practice,” Meyer said. “She has been working on her shot — she had 11 last night and 14 tonight. And she also takes a lot of pride in her defense. That just gives us one more threat on offense.”
With Sammi Whiteman scoring the first seven points for Covington, the Buccs had an 18-5 lead late in the first quarter.
But, Covington went nearly six minutes without scoring as Urbana closed to 20-15 with a little over three minutes to go in the first half.
Just as quickly, Covington finished the half with an 11-0 run, scored the first two points of the second half and was never seriously challenged after that.
And they did it the Lady Bucc way — defense and sharing the ball.
It started with a Jordan Crowell three — followed by a Long steal that Whiteman scored off of and Whiteman steal Crowell scored off of.
Long then scored off another Covington steal, Whiteman added a basket to make it 31-15 at half and Long scored the first two points of the second half.
“Sammi (Whiteman) is consumate point guard,” Meyer said about her ability to get everybody involved. “I think they one thing we are doing really well right now is passing the ball.”
Whiteman led the Lady Buccs with 20 points, while Crowell complimented Long with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Tori Lyle added seven points and six rebounds.
Rogan led Urbana with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Covington was 23 of 55 from the floor for 42 percent and six of eight from the line for 75 percent.
Urbana was 13 of 37 from the floor and seven of 10 from the line for 70 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 35-30 and had 16 turnovers to Urbana’s 26, outscoring the Hillclimbers 23-9 off those turnovers.
And the Lady Buccs ended Urbana’s three game winning streak.
“That is a Division II team,” Meyer said. “This is a big win for us, playing two nights in a row.”
Now, Covington gets a short break before traveling to Springfield Shawnee Wednesday.
“Can I say Merry Christmas,” Meyer said with a smile.
His team has earned it.
Alaina Lyons 2-0-5, Hunter Rogan 5-5-15, Bridget Ofori 2-2-6, Desarae Johnson 1-0-2, Madisyn Horn 2-0-4, Rachel Pickering 0-0-0, Kaylee Moffitt 0-0-0, Cassidy James 1-0-2. Totals: 13-7-34.
Lexie Long 6-2-14, Sammi Whiteman 8-3-20, Justice Warner 0-0-0, Jordan Crowell 4-0-11, Tori Lyle 3-1-7, Addison Metz 0-0-0, Lauren Christian 0-0-0, Lillian Hamilton 2-0-4, Allison Angle 0-0-0. Totals: 23-6-56.
3-point field goals — Urbana: Lyons. Covington: Whiteman, Crowell (3).
Score By Quarters
Urbana 5 15 26 34
Covington 18 31 41 56
Records: Urbana 3-6, Covington 9-1.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.