By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Covington played host to Versailles on Saturday in a non-conference matchup against a Tiger team with high expectations of a deep run in the state tournament – and with good reason due to the recently Ohio State University commit Justin Ahrens leading the way.
But it wasn’t just the Justin Ahrens’ show for Versailles as it had so many other weapons for Covington to try and contain over an entire four quarters.
The future Buckeye did score a game-high 21 points and had a monster dunk in the process, but it was the likes of Keaton McEldowney and AJ Ahrens who hurt the Buccaneers the most with a combined 27 points.
Still, the Buccaneers showed grit and relentless effort in trying to keep pace with the talented Versailles team – and outside of a horrendous offensive output in the third quarter, the Buccaneers played right with Versailles.
Covington trailed 20-13 after one, but was able to narrow the gap to 34-27 at the break thanks to a pair of three pointers by Braden Miller and Bradley Wiggins, along with a three-point play the traditional way by Chad Yohey.
Gray Harshbarger got into the act with a stick-back and Zach Parrett scored on a reverse layup to keep Covington within striking distance at intermission.
Held to eight points at the break, Justin Ahrens “went off” in the third with two long range treys to spark a 15-3 Tiger run in the third.
In the process, Covington couldn’t buy a basket inside the paint or from the perimeter and was held without a field goal throughout the entire eight minutes. The only three points of the third period for the Buccaneers came on three free throws.
Fortunately for the Buccs, both Justin Ahrens and AJ Ahrens found themselves in foul trouble and AJ eventually fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
Covington was able to take advantage by outscoring Versailles 16-11 in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit from a horrid third quarter.
In the end, Covington came up short 60-46 to run its record to 0-2 on the season after back-to-back games against two of the better small school basketball teams in the area – Versailles and Franklin Monroe.
Covington was led in scoring by Bradley Wiggins, who dropped in three treys and a pair of free throws for 11 points. Braden Miller and Chad Yohey had nine points each in support.
The Buccaneers travel to rival Newton on Tuesday in search of their first win of the season on a night where they will follow the girls game against the Lady Indians.