JANUARY 19, 2021 - BRADFORD
Covington traveled to Bradford in a game that was rescheduled from earlier in the year due to COVID.
But the wait was well worth it as fans witnessed a classic battle that went down to the wire between the two neighboring rivals. In the end it was the host Railroaders who came out on top by the score of 46-39.
Things looked bleak for Bradford in the early going, however, as leading scorer Austy Miller went down in the opening minute with an injury. Miller, a junior, recently surpassed 1000 career points and the impact of her off the floor appeared devastating to the Railroaders.
Covington took advantage of Miller's absence by taking a 10-8 lead after one, but the margin could have been much more if the Lady Buccs didn't miss on four first period layups.
Rylee Canan kept Bradford in the game with two big threes, but Covington was able to push its advantage to 16-10 early in the second frame.
After a Bradford timeout, Austy Miller returned to the floor and immediately sparked the home team toward a 12-0 run over the next five minutes. Covington, which was held scoreless in the five-minute span, finally stopped the run with a layup by Claudia Harrington with 1:05 left in the half.
Bradford responded with a bucket inside the paint before Claire Fraley gave Covington some momentum heading into the break with a pair of free throws.
Leading 24-20, Miller started the second half with a three-pointer followed by a momentum changing trey by Buccaneer freshman Gracie Anderson.
Fellow freshman Carlie Besecker then hit on a stick back and converted a steal by Ellie Hedges into a layup to tie the score at 27-27 with 5:10 left in the third.
But every time Covington gained some momentum Bradford had a huge response. This time it was Cassi Mead who hit the big shot on a three-pointer and Rylee Canan followed with a layup to push the Bradford lead back to five points, 32-27.
Covington closed the gap to 32-31 on a layup and a free throw by Besecker and another free throw by Fraley, but Miller connected on a jumper at the buzzer to push the Bradford lead to 34-31 with one period to play.
With the game in the balance, Bradford opened the final stanza on a 6-2 run as Austy Miller hit on a pair of buckets and Rylee Canan scored on a layup. This forced Covington to take a timeout with 5:02 left in the game and the score 40-33 in Bradford's favor.
Claudia Harrington and Claire Fraley responded with a pair of baskets between a Bradford stick back and then Miller pushed the Railroader lead to 44-37 on a layup off of a steal.
Carlie Besecker then hit on a jumper for Covington as the Lady Buccs took a timeout trailing 44-39 with 2:10 left on the clock.
That would be the final time Covington could score the rest of the way as a pair of field goal attempts and a free throw attempt on a one-and-one situation fell off the mark.
Meanwhile, Bradford used the clock to its advantage by spreading the floor and putting the ball into the hands of its best ball handler, Austy Miller. This forced Covington to foul, which resulted into three quick fouls by Claudia Harrington in less than one minute.
Harrington eventually fouled out with 32 seconds left, but by then the outcome was never in doubt.
Fittingly for Bradford, Miller capped the evening with two free throws in the waining moments to secure the 46-39 victory.
Despite missing nearly an entire quarter due to a scary injury, Miller led all scorers with a game high 20 points, while Rylee Canan dropped in 13 points.
Carlie Besecker led Covington with 17 points and Claudia Harrington dropped in 10 points in support.
Covington falls to 10-4 (7-3 CCC) 39-46 and will look to bounce back at Bethel on Thursday.
Covington 10 10 11 8 = 39
Bradford 8 16 10 12 = 46
Covington - 39
16-2pt FG, 1-3pt FG (Anderson), 4/9 FT
Carlie Besecker - 17
Claudia Harrington - 10
Gracie Anderson - 7
Claire Fraley - 5
Bradford - 46
12-2pt FG, 6-3pt FG (Miller 1, Mead 2, R. Canan 3), 4/6 FT
Miller - 20
Rylee Canan - 13
Cassie Mead - 6
Fike - 2
Crickmore - 2
Harleman - 2
Emma Canan - 1