DECEMBER 27, 2019 - COVINGTON
The Covington Lady Buccs entered the opening night of the second annual Buccaneer Holiday Classic unsure of the health of the team due to the recent winter bug that have migrated through the school over the past couple of weeks.
Yes, all of the girls outside of Makenzee Maschino - who was lost for the season in the second game - were in the gym for practice, but many of the girls had battled the bug since the last game eight days ago.
Which made for some concern in regards to conditioning in the opening round of the tournament against rival Newton.
The concern was valid as Covington looked to struggle at times catching their breathe - especially senior Morgan Kimmel - but the Lady Buccs gutted it out fort a 57-45 win.
And it was Kimmel, who obviously couldn’t breathe through her nose, who led the charge offensively with a game-high 21 points - 17 of those coming in the second half. She found herself in foul trouble early, but managed to adjust her game to stay on the floor as much as possible.
Covington also received a stellar effort from sophomore post player Claire Fraley, who tallied 18 points and did a great job crashing the boards and making life difficult for Newton inside the paint.
The Lady Buccs led 13-8 after one and pushed the advantage to 26-15 at the break behind 11 points by Fraley - with Kimmel being on the bench for much of the second quarter with two fouls.
But Newton caught fire in the third period as Camryn Gleason scored 11 of her team-high 16 points on a 22-15 Indian advantage in the frame to cut the margin to 41-37 with eight minutes to go.
Fortunately for Covington, the trio of Kimmel, Fraley and Claudia Harrington took over the game in the final frame. Harrington, who had struggled for three quarters to find her offensive groove, dropped in seven of her 11 points in the final frame, while Kimmel and Fraley combined to score the other nine points to hold off Newton 57-45.
Their performances do not show up in the offensive statistics, but seniors Morgan Lowe and Josie Crowell combined with junior Ellie Hedges to give solid all-around efforts in all phases of the game. Lowe, in particular, was a constant harassment to Newton at the defensive end and Hedges made several plays to set up teammates for open buckets.
Crowell, who finished with three points, defended very well out front and did a great job of crashing the boards.
For Newton, Gleason led the way with 16 points, while Kailey Heisey dropped in 10 points in support.
The Lady Buccs advance to the tournament final against Milton-Union, who defeated Graham, while Newton plays in the consolation round against the Lady Falcons.
Newton - 8 ….. 15 ….. 37 ….. 45
Covington - 13 ….. 26 …… 41 ….. 57
Morgan Kimmel - 21
Claire Fraley - 18
Claudia Harrington - 11
Josie Crowell - 3
Morgan Lowe - 2
Ellie Hedges - 2
Camryn Gleason - 16
Kailey Heisey - 10
Tori Benedict - 9
Madalynn Hughes - 4
Emma Szakal - 3
Jessica Mitchell - 3
Newton: Tori Benedict (2), Camryn Gleason (1), Emma Szakal (1)