BY GREG FLINT
COVINGTON, Ind. —
The game between Covington and Rockville was played in two acts. The first lasted five minutes and the second took the remainder of the contest with the Rox winning 57-36.
In that first five minutes, two things were dominant: the outside shooting of the Rox and the adrenalin flowing through the veins of the Trojans.
Rockville opened the game with a pair of three-pointers by Gary Ulrich. Alex Frechette then hit a lay-up for Covington, but Nick Waltz hit another trey for the Rox followed by a jumper from Jordon McFall and a lay-up by Joel Wittenmyer.
Those four combined to give the visitors a 14-2 lead in a run that finally was stopped by a three-pointer by Chandler Spring at the end of the five-minute first act.
In that same span, the Trojans struggled offensively, throwing high, hard and often wild passes – being what their coach, Kent Chezem, called “too excited.”
Once Spring hit that long jumper, the Trojans seemed to relax and act two began.
Down a dozen before that shot, Covington closed out the quarter on a 7-4 run to trail 18-9 after one period.
“I think once we got past that early anxiety, we played much better,” said Chezem. “We started to execute the way we should.”
Travis Coleman hit the first basket of the second quarter to cut the margin to seven, but the Rox went on an 8-0 run as they took advantage of some Covington mistakes and fed the ball inside to Lane Mahurin for several lay-ups.
Spring hit another jumper at that point for Covington, but the Trojans ended the half down 32-17.
The Rox only have about six players they use right now, according to Rockville coach Dave Mahurin.
“These guys understand their roles and we use our experience — we played probably 75 or 80 games as AAU or Rockville this summer — to read the game,” he said. “We’ve got some seniors who know their roles, but everybody steps in and does their job — that’s what we tell them in practice.”
Reading the Trojans when running their offense worked for the Rox most of the night, but there were times when their defense let them down a bit – usually by overplaying.
At the start of the third quarter, Jordan Ahrens scored six in a row to pull Covington within nine, but then Mahurin went hard to the basket appearing as if he were going to dunk.
James Foley stopped Mahurin from making the basket but the officials called him for an intentional foul – giving Mahurin two free throws and the ball to the Rox.
Mahurin made his two from the line then Ulrich hit his third trey of the game and what had been Covington cutting the lead to under double digits was suddenly Rockville up fourteen.
From that point on, the Trojans could do little besides trade baskets as the Rox, with their big lead, started to slow the game down.
They did not it well enough to please coach Mahurin who said, “You don’t try strange things when you’re trying to hold a lead – especially against a sectional opponent who is as athletic as Covington. We told them tonight and we’ll be making that point again in practice tomorrow.”
Chezem did not like the outcome of the game, but said he was pleased that his team kept competing despite the score.
“We’ve got a bunch of sophomores going against their experience,” he said. “I saw our kids grow up during the course of this game and that’s encouraging to me.”
Asked if was looking forward to playing the Rox again, Chezem replied, “Well, my players do – and they’d like to play them again right now.”