By Rob Kiser
COVINGTON — The Springfield Shawnee girls basketball team got a big break before the game even started Wednesday night at Covington.
Covington junior Sammi Whiteman — who had torched the Braves for 34 points in a 63-48 Covington win a year ago — was unable to play due to an injury.
And despite a valiant effort by Covington, that loss was too much to overcome as the Lady Buccs fell 51-36 in non-conference action.
Shawnee improved to 5-3, while Covington dropped to 7-3.
“When you don’t have someone that averages 18 points a game, that is tough,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said. “But, what a great effort by our kids. I asked them to step up and they all did that. And we hung in there and made it a close game until we lost track of a couple of their 3-point shooters at the end — which seems to be a thing for us.”
For sophomore Morgan Lowe, it was an unexpected start.
“We found out literally two hours before the game that Sammi (Whiteman) wasn’t going to play,” Meyer said. “To drop that on Morgan (Lowe) two hours before the game — usually I like to give a kid 24 hours in that situation. But, she really handled it well and stepped up.”
But, with sophomore Kenzie Long having a double-double by the end of the third quarter and some timely three-point shooting, the Buccs were able to hand in there.
Long finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds — with most of those points coming on offensive putbacks.
“I know how good and offensive rebounder Kenzie (Long) is,” Meyer said. “She has shown it in flashes this season and she really stepped up tonight.”
When Lizzie Weaver hit consecutive threes in the second quarter, Shawnee was able to open a 19-11 lead.
But Lillian Hamilton scored and then just before the buzzer, passes to Jordan Crowell for an open three to get the Buccs within 20-17.
“That’s what Jordan (Crowell) does,” Meyer said. “She hits big threes.”
The bank was open for Lowe to start the second half on a three that tied the game at 20.
But, Shawnee scored the next seven points.
The Braves led 35-29 after three quarters, then took it to double digits when Hannah Schartz scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and Covington could never really recover.”
“It was a tremendous effort by our kids,” Meyer said. “I can’t say enough for the way the kids stepped up.”
Crowell led Covington with 12 points.
Weaver had 12 points to pace Shawnee and Olivia Potts added 11.
Emily Lord finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Covington was 13 of 46 from the floor for 28 percent and six of 12 from the line for 50 percent.
Shawnee was 21 of 44 from the floor for 48 percent and four of 10 from the line for 40 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 29-23, but had 17 turnovers to the Braves 1o.
The Lady Buccs will be back in action at Troy Saturday, with a 1 p.m. JV start.
“We may need the same kind of effort Saturday,” Meyer said. “And for an extended time. We are not sure when Sammi (Whiteman) is going to be back.”
And after Wednesday, Meyer knows effort won’t be an issue.
Springfield Shawnee (51)
Alisa Williams 2-2-6, Lizzie Weaver 4-1-12, Olivia Potts 5-1-11, Andi Meeks 2-0-4, Emily Lord 4-0-8, Hannah Schartz 2-0-5, Madi Jones 1-0-2, Ellie Brouhard 0-0-0, Paree Furness 1-0-3. Totals: 21-4-51.
Morgan Lowe 1-0-3, Kenzie Long 4-2-10, Lillian Hamilton 2-0-4, Jordan Crowell 3-3-12, Tori Lyle 2-0-5, Lauren Christian 1-0-2, Morgan Kimmel 0-0-0. Totals: 13-5-35.
3-point field goals — Shawnee: Weaver (3), Schartz, Furness. Covington: Lowe, Crowell (3).
Score By Quarters
Springfield Shawnee 9 20 35 51
Covington 7 17 29 36
Records: Springfield Shawnee 5-3, Covington 7-3.
Reserve score: Springfield Shawnee 39, Covington 34.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.