Piqua Daily Call
COVINGTON — Brandon Studebaker knew points could be an issue in the Covington girls basketball team’s season opener Saturday against Fairlawn in non-conference action at Covington.
And that proved correct — the Buccs made just 13 field goals in a 61-45 loss to the Lady Jets.
Which was understandable, given Covington was playing its first game without last year’s D-IV Ohio Player of the Year Sammi Whiteman, who graduated.
“I knew that (shooting) could be a problem,” Studebaker said. “We have been working on it in practice. We got good looks, we just didn’t knock down the shots. We just need to come out and shoot with confidence.”
But, for all that, Covington was able to get back within 53-45 with 1:20 to go after a steal and layup by Morgan Kimmel.
Fairlawn was able to scored the final eight points to put the game away.
“We got back within eight and I was feeling pretty good,” Studebaker said. “Then, we had some mental mistakes and break down with fundamentals that we can’t have.”
Lonna Heath hit three straight 3-pointers to give Fairlawn a 14-2 lead midway through the first quarter and finished with a game-high 32 points.
“We had four films on them and scored a total of 10 points in those four films,” Studebaker said. “And, she comes out and scores 32. What are you going to do?”
But, Covington was able to use the foul line to get back in the game.
The Buccs made 13 of 17 free throws in the opening half, including six of eight by Makenzee Maschino.
When Josie Crowell hit two with 2:16 remaining in the half, the game was tied 23-23.
But, the final 10 seconds of the half were disastrous for the Buccs.
Breanna Rufus hit a three, stole the inbounds, then hit a three and was fouled, with the four-point play giving Fairlawn a 33-23 lead at the break.
“We just kept battling and we had gotten ourselves back in it,” Studebaker said. “Then, we are right back in a big deficit again.”
Covington battled throughout the second half, but Fairlawn maintained a double-digit lead until the closing two minutes of the game.
“I think it was (good to get out on the floor),” Studebaker said. “We would have loved to have played last night. But, our football team has enjoyed a lot of success. We just have to keep working and getting better.”
Morgan Lowe and Kimmel scored nine points each for Covington, while Maschino added seven points and eight rebounds.
Claire Fraley grabbed 11 rebounds, while Claudia Harrington and Crowell had five each.
MaCalla Huelskamp had eight points and five rebounds for Fairlawn, while Ashley Roush had seven points and 10 rebounds.
Camri Cundiff had seven points and eight rebounds, Alexis Graves had nine rebounds and Rufus scored seven points.
Covington was 13 of 53 from the floor for 25 percent and 18 of 26 from the line for 69 percent.
Fairlawn was 18 of 42 from the floor for 43 percent and 19 of 30 from the line for 63 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 27-26 and both teams had 11 turnovers.
“Fairlawn is a good team,” Studebaker said. ‘They are going to win a lot of games.”
And the Buccs will continue to work and get better with each game.
Lonnie Heath 10-8-32, Camri Cundiff 2-3-7, Alexis Graves 0-0-0, MaCalla Huelskamp 2-4-8, Ashley Roush 2-3-7, Breanna Rufus 2-1-7, Brittany Strunk 0-0-0. Totals: 18-19-61.
Morgan Lowe 3-2-9, Morgan Kimmel 3-3-9, Claudia Harrington 2-2-6, Claire Fraley 2-2-6, Josie Crowell 2-2-6, Makenzee Maschino 0-7-7, Ellie Hedges 1-0-2, Autumn Rush 0-0-0, Meg Rogers 0-0-0. Totals: 13-18-45.
3-point field goals — Fairlawn: Heath (4), Rufus (2). Covington: Lowe.
Score by Quarters
Fairlawn 14 33 39 61
Covington 8 23 29 45
Records: Fairlawn 1-0, Covington 0-1.
Reserve score: Fairlawn 41, Covington 10.