By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
COVINGTON — The Covington girls basketball team kept the championship hardware at home in the inaugural Buccaneer Classic Saturday night.
But, not without a stiff challenge from Milton-Union in the championship game — even though it may have not started out that way.
Covington jumped out to a 15-2 lead early and led 34-22 at halftime, before Milton closed within four points midway through the third quarter. But, the Lady Buccs held on for a 53-43 victory to improve to 10-1, while the Bulldogs dropped to 6-4.
“It is nice to be able to win the first Buccaneer Classic,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said.
And Milton-Union coach Katie Roose said her team enjoyed the experience as well.
“It is our first opportunity to play in a holiday tournament,” Roose said. “I think, especially with the two teams we played, I think this was a really good experience.”
And the game matched up two of the top scorers in the area in Covington’s Sammi Whiteman and Milton-Union’s Kristen Dickison.
Whiteman had 14 points when she went to the bench with two fouls with four minutes remaining in the first half and Covington leading 29-14 and the Buccs were still up 34-22 at the break.
“There are going to be times where we have to play without Sammi (Whiteman),” Meyer said. “Whether it be because of fouls, injury or just to give her a break. We have other weapons. It is just a matter of executing and we are getting there.”
But, in the third quarter, Milton-Union came out in a diamond-and-one and after an early three by Claudia Harrington, the Buccs found points hard to come by.
After a three-point play by Dickison and a basket by Rachel Thompson, MU was within 37-33 with 4:00 remaining in the quarter.
“I challenged the girls (after the 15-2 deficit),” Roose said. “And they responded to the challenge. We held her (Sammi Whiteman) scoreless in the third quarter after she kind of dominated the first half. I was proud of the girls. They always respond when I challenge them.”
Covington’s Lillian Hamilton responded with five points as Covington took a 42-35 lead to the fourth quarter and held on from there.
“Milton went to the diamond-and-one and did a good job in it,” Meyer said. “When that happens, somebody else has got to step up and make shots and that’s what happened.”
Whiteman had a stealand three-point play to push the Buccs lead to 45-36 and eventually Milton-Union had to foul.
“I can’t say enough about Sammi (Whiteman),” Meyer said. “And Morgan Lowe (who was on Kristen Dickison) just did an amazing job both nights on defense.”
Whiteman finished with 22 points and passed Michelle Meyer to go to second on the all-time scoring list.
Lynette Roeth is at the top of the list with 1,879. Whiteman now has 1,574 and Meyer finished her career with 1,560.
Harrington added 11 points for the Buccs and Morgan Kimmel scored eight.
Whiteman was MVP for the tournament, while Kimmel and Lowe; Milton-Union’s Dickison and Thompson and Brooke Deeter of Newton were all named to the all-tournament team.
Thompson led Milton-Union with 16 points, while Dickison scored 12.
“We knew they were going to be focused on (stoppin) Kristen (Dickison),” Roose said. “Rachel (Thompson) really hit some big shots for us. She ended up leading us in scoring.”
Covington will host Newton Thursday in CCC action, while Milton-Union will travel to Oakwood for a SWBL game the same night.
After a holiday tournament with plenty of positives for both teams.
Rachel Thompson 6-4-16, Morgan Grudich 1-2-4, Madison Jones 2-1-5, Kristen Dickison 3-5-12, Olivia Brown 3-0-6, Megan Jacobs 0-0-0. Totals: 15-12-43.
Morgan Lowe 0-0-0, Sammi Whiteman 8-4-22, Morgan Kimmel 2-3-8, Claudia Harrington 4-1-11, Lauren Christian 2-0-4, Lillian Hamilton 2-2-6, Makenzee Maschino 1-0-2. Totals: 19-10-53.
3-point field goals — Milton-Union: Dickison. Covington: Whiteman (2), Kimmel, Harrington (2).
Score By Quarters
Milton-Union 9 22 35 43
Covington 22 34 42 53
Records: Milton-Union 6-4, Covington 10-1.