WEST LEBANON, Ind. – One quarter changed everything when Seeger hosted Covington in girls’ basketball.
The Patriots used an 18-2 run in the second quarter, including five treys in that span, to turn a close game into a runaway that ended 47-27.
“They shot the lights out in that second quarter,” said Covington coach Jeff McCoy. “They hit, what, seven threes in the game and I’d bet at least four or five were well contested by us.”
The game had gone back and forth in a sloppy first quarter — a period that ended with Seeger ahead 12-11 — but by halftime, it was the Patriots in the lead 30-13.
“Falling behind is something we practice,” said McCoy, “But it’s not something we’re ready to handle yet. A few games from now, maybe, but not tonight. We had to change everything we wanted to – it just took us completely out of our game.”
Despite the Seeger run, McCoy said he really had no serious complaints about his defense either in the second quarter or in any other part of the game.
“It wasn’t like they had just one player hitting shots. They all did,” he said.
In that decisive second quarter, freshman Haley Briles got things started for Seeger with a trey. Morgan Rademacher then added two free throws followed by a three-pointer. Patience Darling drilled a three, then Cara Fowler and finally with eight seconds left before halftime, Miranda Synesael did the same.
“We had trouble with their zone early,” said Synesael. “They kept us away from the basket so we had to shoot from outside, but finally we adjusted and started hitting.”
Both teams made adjustments in over the intermission and the third quarter started with a driving lay-up by Avery Chezem of Covington, but Seeger also began to go inside as the Trojans changed to a man defense.
“We started getting cuts against that [defense],” said Synesael. “We went inside when we could.”
Seeger used that inside game to extend their lead to as many as 20 points at 35-15 late in the third quarter, but Chezem hit a runner and took a steal the length of the floor to make the score 37-19 as the stanza ended.
The fourth quarter started with both defenses dominating and neither team could score for almost three minutes. The first points came on a lay-up by Miranda Tuggle for Covington, but Seeger countered immediately with a short jumper by Hannah Gustus.
The Trojans then seemed to make a small run as Hannah Hegg hit a jump shot off a pass from Chezem who followed with two free throws. After another Gustus basket, Covington pulled within fifteen on a basket by Kendra Wallace — also off an assist by Chezem.
That was as close as the Trojans would get and Seeger pulled away at the free throw line to win 47-27.
Patriot head coach Brent Rademacher, like McCoy, liked the play of his defense.
“We tried to keep the ball out of Avery [Chezem’s] hands as much as we could,” he explained. “Cara [Fowler] did a great job on defending her when she did get the ball, and Haley Briles stepped in and did well against her when Cara was out.”
The other thing that Rademacher liked about his defense was that they forced the tempo — making Covington speed up and take shots in a hurry.
McCoy agreed that his team had to hurry too much, but said there was little else they could down when they fell behind as badly as they did in the second quarter.
Rademacher said he was not surprised by the offensive barrage in that period, noting that his team had hit nine three-pointers in their previous outing.
“I think we played pretty well,” said Rademacher, “but we’ve got another tough game coming up next. We’ve got to play the number-ten ranked 2A team in Riverton Parke on Tuesday.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org