The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 4, 2014

Trojans' quick start key in victory over Ramblers

BY GREG FLINT sports@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — COVINGTON, Ind. – A quick start was the difference when Covington hosted Attica in the opening round of the boys’ Bi-County Holiday Tournament. The Trojans opened with a 13-2 run en route to a 57-40 victory.

Attica managed just one basket in the first six and a half minutes of the game while Covington was getting scoring from five players. The Trojans kept the 11-point margin after one quarter at 17-6.

“We’ve had a tendency in our games to dig a hole at the start of games,” said Rambler head coach Chuck Hutchins. “We talked before the game about not doing that, but we’ve still got to work on it some more.”

Once the Ramblers hit their second basket, a jumper by Bryce Cooper, the team began to find their shooting eyes. Brady Sheridan hit a jumper and Keetin Arnold went to the line to shoot free throws after his teammates got him the ball inside the paint.

Covington continued to get points from all over the floor whether it was a trey from Halen Noble or a lay-up from Travis Coleman. They pushed their lead up to eighteen at 27-9 before Cooper hit two baskets and a three-pointer to make it 29-16 at halftime.

When the two teams played a few weeks ago, Covington did much as they did in this contest and opened a good-sized early lead. The difference in this game was that Attica did not bounce right back as they had in the previous meeting.

Covington coach Kent Chezem gave credit for this to his defense, saying, “Our defensive consistency was better tonight. We kept after them and used our length advantage to bother them.”

Chezem says the team keeps track of deflections and his team had quite a number of them in this game, especially in the first half.

According to Hutchins, that was why his team struggled early.

“We couldn’t get into a rhythm,” he explained. “We got shots, but we didn’t play the way we wanted to play.”

Covington found a hot hand in the third quarter in Jordan Ahrens and the junior ran off six straight points to start period.

Attica started getting the ball inside to Keetin Arnold, but the Trojans countered with long-range shooting as Coleman and Ahrens hit back-to-back treys.

Luke Cooper stopped the Covington run with a jumper then Bryce Cooper hit a pair of treys and a lay-up to pull the Ramblers within eleven at 45-34. Coleman came back with a lay-up that made it 47-34 after three quarters.

The final period saw the Trojans extend their lead behind the shooting of Chandler Spring and Gage Hegg. When the margin reached seventeen at 55-38, Covington went into a spread and went on to win 57-40.

“We did not leave our best effort out there on the floor,” is how Hutchins summarized the game. “We didn’t execute at all like we should have.”

Chezem said it was a game with positives for his team, saying, “We took a step forward tonight. Our passing was better and so was our shot selection. We played better for longer.”

With the win, Covington is now 6-0 on the season, but Chezem gave that little notice.

“We’re treating games almost like practice,” he said. “The real season starts in March so we’re more interested in the process of getting better than we are in our record and we did that tonight.”

Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at gfphoto@gfphoto-web.com