By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
NEW MADISON — It was exactly the type of battle you would expect on the hardwood with the Cross County Conference girls basketball title on the line for all intents and purposes.
Tri-Village came in 12-1 and 6-0 in the CCC, while Covington was 12-1 and 7-0 in the CCC and the intensity of play on the Patriots floor reflected that.
Both coaches were pulling out all the stops on defense and points were hard to come by from the start.
But, in the end, Tri-Village came away with a 44-35 victory.
“I would describe this as a smash-mouth game,” Covington coach Jim Meyer said in describing the two teams defenses.
Tri-Village elected to play at triangle-and-two defense, with both defenders guarding Covington’s high scoring guard Sammi Whiteman, who came in averaging almost 25 points a game.
“They used a defense we hadn’t seen this year,” Meyer said. “We have had some teams run two girls at Sammi (Whiteman). But, to double team her the entire game — that just shows you how much respect they had for Sammi. I am just amazed she scored 12 points with the defense they were playing.”
At the same time, Covington elected to go to a box-and-one on Tri-Village’s Lissa Siler, holding her to two points.
“Morgan (Lowe) did a great job on the Siler girl,” Meyer said. “To hold her to two points is an incredible job.”
And while Covington stayed close much of the game, Tri-Village’s 6-2 freshman Meghan Downing and 6-1 junior Maddie Downing’s size took its toll inside as the Patriots were able to grab almost 20 offensive rebounds.
A shot by Morgan Lowe got Covington to within 13-11 midway through the second quarter, but Tri-Village finished the half on a 5-2 run.
Maddie Downing’s 3-point play put the Patriots up 18-13 at the break.
When Meghan Downing hit a 3-pointer halfway through the third quarter, the Patriots led 25-18 and maintained that the rest of the quarter. Tri-Village took a 31-24 advantage to the final quarter.
Tri-Village had a 39-30 lead after Siler’s only basket of the night, but a long jumper by Lauren Christian and three by Lowe made it a 39-35 game with 2:42 remaining.
But, Covington did not score the rest of the way. And while both teams struggled from the line, Tri-Village was able to make just enough free throws to finish off the line.
“We had some opportunities,” Meyer said about the last two minutes. “We weren’t able to hit the shots. We didn’t want to send Tri-Village to the line, because they normally shoot well from there. But, we didn’t have a choice.”
Along with Whiteman scoring 12 points and pulling down six rebounds, Lowe finished with eight points and Christian added seven. Makenzee Maschino grabbed nine rebounds and Morgan Kimmel pulled down eight.
“We had a couple girls step up,” Meyer said.
Meghan Downing led Tri-Village with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Maddie Downing scored 12 points and had nine rebounds, Emma Printz added nine points and nine rebounds and Siler grabbed six rebounds.
Covington was 14 of 46 from the floor for 30 percent and six of 13 from the line for 46 percent. Tri-Village was 15 of 46 from the floor for 33 percent and 11 of 21 from the line for 52 percent.
Tri-Village won the battle of the boards 36-30 and both teams had nine turnovers.
Covington will be back in action Saturday, hosting Ansonia.
Morgan Lowe 3-1-8, Sammi Whiteman 4-4-12, Morgan Kimmel 1-0-2, Claudia Harrington 1-0-2, Lauren Christian 3-1-7, Lillian Hamilton 1-0-2, Makenzee Maschino 1-0-2. Totals: 14-6-35.
Emma Printz 3-1-9, Meghan Downing 5-3-14, Andi Bietry 1-3-5, Lissa Siler 1-0-2, Maddie Downing 4-4-12, Peyton Bietry 1-0-2. Totals: 15-11-44.
3-point field goals — Covington: Lowe. Tri-Village: Printz (2), Meghan Downing.
Score By Quarters
Covington 5 13 24 35
Tri-Village 11 18 31 44
Records: Covington 12-2 (7-1), Tri-Village 13-1 (7-0).
Reserve score: Tri-Village 45, Covington 11.