COVINGTON, Ind. – The Covington boys’ basketball used a strong fourth quarter on Saturday to take a come-from-behind win over Fountain Central in the Bi-County Holiday Tournament championship game.
The Trojans outscored the Mustangs 18-14 in the final period to win 58-56 and claim the tournament trophy.
Covington came out strong to open the game, going up 8-2 thanks to the scoring of Jordan Ahrens, Travis Coleman and Chandler Spring.
Doug Wallace interrupted the Trojan run with a basket, but Covington then closed out the quarter with a 14-7 run to lead 22-11 after one period.
“We started off playing well in the first quarter offensively,” said Fountain Central coach Jason Good, “but we never stopped them defensively.”
Koby Pierce cut into the margin with a trey to open the second quarter and Ethan Woodrow made a pair of free throws to pull the Mustangs within six but Coleman countered for the Trojans.
Covington saw Ahrens pick up his second foul early in the second quarter and he headed to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Just after Ahrens went to the bench, Fountain Central found the range from distance as Ladd Warner hit a pair of treys and Koby Pierce hit one at the horn that tied the game at 31-all at the half.
Ahrens returned at the start of the third quarter and immediately made his presence known by hitting a three-pointer. Woodrow answered by making a pair of baskets for Fountain Central to give the Mustangs the lead at 35-34.
Covington got a basket to go back in front, but Pierce hit another trey to put the Mustangs up 38-36.
Fountain Central looked as if they might go into the final quarter with the lead, but Ahrens hit a runner at the buzzer to tie the game at 38-all.
“We started playing better defensively in the second quarter,” said Good, “and nobody did much in the third quarter, but we couldn’t turn them over in the fourth.”
It was Covington who turned up the defense in the fourth quarter and it started with Spencer McCone.
“Spencer came out and hit a huge three, but he made a big defensive play right before that,” said Covington coach Kent Chezem. “His play out there gave us a huge lift.”
Ahrens put the Trojans up 40-38 at the start of the fourth quarter, but then picked up his fourth foul and again went to the bench. McCone came it at that point, made the defensive play that Chezem mentioned then hit a three-pointer that put Covington up 45-39.
After the teams traded some foul shots, Fountain Central still trailed by five with about three minutes to go and called a timeout.
Chezem used the Mustang break to put his team into their spread offense, but he was not happy with the play of his team in that final span.
“We had too many turnovers and missed too many free throws,” he explained. “We need to play better in closing out games.”
The Mustangs made a final run but the Trojans were in the double bonus and made enough free throws, perhaps not enough for their coach, but enough to hold off the visitors for the win.
“This was the best we’ve played all year,” said Good of the Mustangs. “It’s still only game seven or eight and we’re still taking steps forward to get ready for February.”
Chezem said he was pleased with defense played by his guards.
“With Brennan [Wright] out [injured from the night before], we struggled to find a game play to handle their inside game. Our guards did a good job of keeping them from getting the ball inside the post.”
He then added, “Our bench also did well. They had to with our foul trouble tonight.”
In the third-place matchup, Attica also put together a big comeback in the fourth quarter, outscoring Seeger 19-5 for a 58-50 victory.
Brady Sheridan led the Red Ramblers with 21 points and four steals, while Kenny Little had 13 points with six rebounds and five assists and Bryce Cooper had 12 points and three assists.
Terron Wade had 14 points and five rebounds for the Patriots, while Nick McGowen had 12 points and Josh Orahood added 10.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org