By Rob Kiser
COVINGTON — Covington girls basketball coach Craig Maschino got the response he was looking for from his team after two tough losses.
Bradford coach Patrick McKee hopes he gets the same from his squad after Thursday’s 52-25 loss to the Lady Buccs in CCC action.
And both coaches were in agreement on the key to the game.
“I don’t think it was about execution tonight,” McKee said. “It was about heart and desire. I thought Covington made all the hustle plays. They were diving on the floor for loose balls. I just think they played a lot harder than we did.”
It was something Maschino was looking for.
“We lost to two good teams in Versailles and Tri-Village,” Maschino said. “To be honest, I questioned there effort a little bit and it was great to see the way they responded tonight. We stat hustle plays and I thought our girls made a lot of those plays tonight.”
With the hot-shooting Mandi Bates scoring nine points in opening quarter, Bradford was able to stay within 17-14, when Maschino challenged his kids.
“I am not going to say the number,” he said. “But, I was really disappointed with giving up 14 points in the first quarter — our defense is so much better than that. I told them there was a point total I didn’t want Bradford to get to. And we kept them well under it. We only gave up 11 points the last three quarters. I was really pleased with that.”
Covington dominated the offensive boards all game and by halftime the Buccs were in front 30-18. Carly Shell had 10 points on five of seven shooting in the opening half.
“Carly (Shell) got a late because of cross country,” Maschino said. “She is just 14 days in. She is getting her legs under her and I think you are going to see a lot more of that from her.”
Bates hit a three to open the second half, but Bradford would score just four points the rest of the game.
“They killed us on the offensive boards,” McKee said. “I think they had more offensive rebounds than we had rebounds.”
Jessie Crowell led Covington with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“That is probably the toughest 15 points Jessie (Crowell) ever had,” Maschino said. “They had two girls around her all the time. But, I thought Jess did a great job of keeping her composure.”
Shell scored 10, Sammy Whiteman tallied nine and Brooke Gostomsky had six rebounds. Jordan Crowell and Tori Lyle both pulled down five.
Bates led Bradford with 16 points, while Mackenzie Weldy grabbed nine rebounds.
Covington was 24 of 60 from the floor for 40 percent and two of five from the line for 40 percent as well.
Bradford was nine of 32 from the floor for 28 percent and six of 10 from the line for 60 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 34-21 and had 13 turnovers to Bradford’s 22.
Bradford dropped to 2-4 and 1-2 in the CCC, while Covington improved to 4-2 and 2-1 in the CCC.
“We are only six games in,” McKee said. “But, if we play with heart and effort we did tonight, it is going to be a long season.”
Which is why he is hoping to get the same response from his team, that Maschino got from his.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.