By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — For the first time since December 22nd, the Covington Buccaneers took to the home floor hoping to end an extended shooting slump that has led to four losses in a five-game road stretch.
But the familiarity of playing in the home gym didn’t have the desired affect as the Buccaneers came out shooting ice cold from the floor – failing to score a single point over the first 6:10 of the game.
By then Fairlawn had built a 10-0 lead before Chad Yohey was fouled while scoring on a layup. Yohey converted on the free throw to put Covington on the board with 2:50 showing on the clock in the first quarter.
But that was the only points Covington could manage in the opening frame as Fairlawn pushed its advantage to 14-3 to close out a very frustrating first eight minutes for the men in black and white.
Forced to play from behind, the Buccaneers managed to catch fire in the second quarter from behind the three-point line by dropping in four treys in the frame – two by Braden Miller and one each by Chad Yohey and Tyler Fraley.
But Covington couldn’t score from inside the paint and went into the locker room trailing 24-15 after scoring one bucket from inside the arc in the first half – which was the layup by Yohey in the first quarter.
After intermission the Buccaneers continued their shooting success from long range in the third quarter as both Branden Miller and Bradley Wiggins connected on a pair of three-pointers a piece. Sophomore Kleyton Maschino managed to squeeze his way through for a layup in the third for what was only the second bucket from inside the three-point line for the Buccaneers.
Still, Covington was able to cut the deficit to 34-29 with one quarter play play.
Another trey by Bradley Wiggins gave Covington some momentum to start the fourth and a Chad Yohey runner followed by a Tyler Fraley ten footer cut the Fairlawn to 39-37 with just under two minutes left.
But it was as close as Covington could get as Fairlawn scored six straight points to give itself a cushion – all coming on free throws as the Buccaneer crowd took its frustration out on the officiating crew.
Fairlawn converted on 15 of 17 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to sneak away from Covington with a 51-43 win.
Yes, Covington made ten three-pointers in the contest to stay in contention, but that’s not the Buccaneers’ game.
In a nutshell, Covington failed on this night due to a slow start, poor shooting from inside the three-point line and the wide disparity at the free throw line. It’s hard to win when you only score three points in the opening quarter, make just four shots from inside the paint and allow a team to shoot 22 free throws to your seven.
Covington, now 3-10 on the season, looks to figure out its difficulty to get out to a fast start and shoot a better percentage from inside against Houston Saturday night.