By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — The month of January has been a tough one for the Covington Buccaneers boys basketball team with five straight losses since the turn of the new year.
It has been a variety of issues – slow starts to games, failing to convert on shots inside the paint and untimely turnovers in clutch situations.
But Tuesday the Buccaneers put it all together by playing its most complete game of the season in a 50-42 win over Miami East.
And it was the long range shooting of Bradley Wiggins and Braden Miller that got Covington rolling early as the duo combined for five three-pointers in the opening frame to spark a 22-10 lead after one. Wiggins, who scored all 11 of his points in the opening quarter, had three treys and Miller had two in the first 8:00.
Covington cooled off in the second quarter and was held without a point until a Kleyton Maschino bucket with 4:14 left in the half. By then Miami East had scored 11 straight points to put itself back into the game very quickly – eight of those coming on two treys and a bucket by Brendan Bertch.
Braden Miller followed Maschino’s bucket with his third three-pointer of the first half and then Gray Harshbarger scored on a short jumper to keep Covington on top 31-25 at the break.
But Miami East was able to chip into the Covington lead in the third quarter as Austin Kearns imposed his will inside the paint with two drives to the basket and Will Hudson hit on a short jumper from the baseline.
The Vikings also converted on three of four free throws in the third as Miami East closed the gap to 37-34 with 8:00 to play.
Kleyton Maschino and Andrew Cates then gave Covington a spark off the bench to start the fourth quarter as Maschino drew a charging foul and Cates drilled a three-pointer seconds later. Zach Parrett followed with a jumper and a layup to push the Buccaneer lead to 44-36 with just under six minutes to play.
Parker Heim gave Miami East a lift with a tree-pointer of his own and Will Hudson connected on a runner, but Covington was able to convert on six of seven free throws down the stretch to preserve the 50-42 win.
Braden Miller led the Buccaneers with a game-high 15 points, while Bradley Wiggins scored 11 points and Zach Parrett had 10 points.
Miami East, who was playing without senior standout Austin Rutledge due to injury, was led in scoring by Will Hudson with 11 points. Brendon Bertch had nine points and Parker Heim had eight.