CAYUGA, Ind. — Two plays less than 30 seconds apart may have been the difference as Covington defeated host North Vermillion by the score of 53-40.
The score was tied at 36-all with just less than six minutes left in the game. Covington got the ball under their basket after a North Vermillion foul. The inbounds pass went to Andi Taylor, who drilled a 3-pointer.
About 30 seconds later, after the Falcons made a free throw, Avery Chezem stole the ball for the Trojans and took it the length of the court for a lay-up.
She was fouled on the play and converted the ensuing free throw to make the score 42-37.
“Two mistakes on our part and they get six points,” said North Vermillion coach Terry Naylor. “Give us back those six points and it’s a different game.”
The Trojans would go on, in the next three minutes, to extend their lead into double digits thanks to baskets by Chezem and Kendra Wallace to put the game out of reach of the Falcons.
Chezem and Taylor led Covington in scoring with 20 and 11 points respectively, but it was the contributions by other players that Trojan coach Jeff McCoy thought was the key to the game.
Macie Cooper scored four and Regan Foster scored five, but McCoy said getting those two involved made a big difference in the Trojan offence.
“We had a team pow-wow after the Attica game and talked about movement and offensive opportunities,” said McCoy. “We told them to stop simply passing back out but instead to look to score. With more shooters, we’re harder to defend.”
The Trojans also got significant contributions off the bench from Miranda Tuggle and Abby White according to McCoy – more than just the four points each scored.
Perhaps having more options made the Covington offense click early as Chezem found herself open for a pair of treys in the early going.
The Trojans jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but baskets by Rhiannon Grubbs and Taylen Balding pulled the Falcons right back into the contest.
Covington led by a point, 10-9, after one quarter but raised the margin to an eight-point, 23-15, halftime lead.
“We had to work hard to get back from being behind at the half,” said Naylor. “We caught up but once they got that lead, they kept going.”
His team made back-to-back three-pointers midway through the third quarter by Shawnacee Bowman and Sierra Grube followed by a basket by Grube to get within one at 28-27.
Covington then opened a three-point lead, but North Vermillion continued to answer.
It was four points, 36-32 after three quarters, but then the Falcons score the first four points of the final period to set up the 36-36 tie that led to the Trojan’s pulling away.
Naylor liked how his team played, saying, “We didn’t play badly but we didn’t hit our shots and Covington did.”
McCoy said the best thing for him was seeing seven players in the scoring column.
“We can’t have just one or two carry us,” he said. “We need to have all seven continue to contribute if we want to be successful.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org