By Rob Kiser
JANUARY 12, 2021 - COVINGTON
Sometimes, the wisdom of a freshman is a good thing.
In a wild girls basketball game where Houston had rallied from a 16-point deficit and trailed Covington 43-42 in the final 30 seconds, Covington freshman guard Gracie Anderson made a critical decision.
Anderson let fly with a 3-pointer from the right of the key with 16 seconds to go and it was a perfect swish to put the Lady Buccs up 46-42. Covington then held on for a 48-45 win over the scrappy Wildcats.
“To be honest, I just wanted to win the game,” Anderson said about the shot. “I was thinking, ‘Thank You Jesus’ when it went in.”
She wasn’t the only one.
“We don’t ever want a shot in that situation,” Covington coach Brandon Studebaker said. “We had just discussed that very thing when Brad (Houston coach Brad Allen) called a timeout. Credit to Gracie (Anderson) for having the confidence to take that shot.
“It is the first time we have been in that situation. It is a good thing the shot went in, or we probably would have lost.”
That’s because the drama wasn’t over yet.
Megan Maier answered with a three at the other end to make it 46-45.
Covington’s Ellie Hedges was fouled with 2.6 seconds left and hit both free throws for the final margin.
The Buccs improved to 9-2 on the year with a big game looming with Tri-Village on the road Thursday.
“That’s why we rescheduled this game for tonight,” Studebaker said. “I knew it would be a good game to get us ready for Thursday.”
It didn’t seem like it would be such a dramatic finish.
With Anderson, Carlie Besecker and Claudia Harrington combining for 25 first-half points, Covington led 27-11 late in the half.
But, Houston closed to 29-17 by halftime and the Buccs' lead was down to 35-32 going to the fourth quarter.
“Houston can do that to you,” Studebaker said. “They got some good looks in the third quarter.”
And they were frustrating Covington with their defense every time the Buccs tried to enter the ball into posts players Besecker and Claire Fraley. Covington finished with 21 turnovers on the night.
“We always tell the the kids, you don’t need to force it,” Studebaker said. “There is nothing wrong with ball reversal. But, Carlie (Besecker) is still going to find a way to get her points. She is an athlete.”
Covington never led by more than five in the fourth quarter.
It was 43-42 Covington with 1:15 remaining after a basket by Amber Stangel.
After the two teams exchanged turnovers, Houston called timeout with 29.8 seconds left - setting up the "no, no - yes" 3-pointer by Anderson.
“It was good for us (to have some adversity),” Anderson said. “We will learn from this.”
Anderson, Besecker and Harrington all finished with 13 points for Covington.
Fraley had 12 rebounds, Besecker pulled down 10 and Anderson added six.
Maier had 20 points and five rebounds for Houston, while Stangel had 11 points and six rebounds.
Covington was 15 of 37 from the floor for 41 percent and 13 of 21 front the line for 62 percent.
Houston was 15 of 45 front he floor for 33 percent and 10 of 18 from the line for 56 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 34-25, but Houston had only 13 turnovers.
Now comes the biggest challenge of the season so far Thursday - after a night full of drama.
Megan Maier 6-4-20, Amber Stangel 5-0-11, Rylie Voisard 1-2-4, Mariah Booher 1-1-3, Catrin Mohler 1-0-2, Emma Kemp 0-1-1, Katie Maier 1-2-4. Totals: 15-10-45.
Ellie Hedges 0-5-5, Gracie Anderson 4-1-13, Claudia Harrington 5-2-13, Carlie Besecker 4-5-13, Claire Fraley 2-0-4. Totals: 15-13-48.
3-point field goals — Houston: Maier (4), Stangel. Covington: Anderson (4), Harrington.
Score By Quarters
Houston 11 17 32 45
Covington 16 29 35 48
Records: Covington 9-2