By Rob Kiser
FEBRUARY 4, 2021 - COVINGTON
Covington girls basketball coach Brandon Studebaker and Miami East girls basketball coach Bruce Vanover will agree on two things.
You win games with defense and there is no quit in their teams.
And both of those characteristics were on full display in a CCC battle Thursday night won by Covington 36-23.
“That was our best game of the year on offense,” Studebaker said. “I know we didn’t score a lot of points, but I really thought we played well. And what a job the girls did on defense. I can’t say enough about that.”
Despite the loss, Vanover was positive about his team afterwards.
“I will tell you one thing about this group of girls,” Vanover said. “There is not one time this year I have every questioned their effort. They play their hearts out out there. They battle to the end every game. It is the same mantra - we are playing good enough on defense, we are just not scoring enough points.”
It was clear from the start it was going to be a defensive battle.
Covington had a 15-5 lead midway through the second quarter.
East closed within 17-13 at halftime and baskets by Rori Hunley and Cadence Gross tied it early in the third quarter.
“We had an eight-point lead late in the first half and let them get within four,” Studebaker said. “We talked about that at halftime.”
But, just as quickly, Covington scored the next nine points.
Claire Fraley and Claudia Harrington had baskets, before Carlie Besecker scored five straight to make it 26-17 and the Buccs were in control the rest of the way.
“That was a good response by us,” Studebaker said. “I just thought we did a really nice job on offense tonight.”
A big part of that was what the Buccs got from 5-11 post Claire Fraley, who is normally quiet at the offensive end.
While Claudia Harrington had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Besecker had 11 points and six rebounds - the Buccs have come to expect that.
Fraley had a break-out game on offense with nine points, while pulling down 16 rebounds.
“Claire (Fraley) has always struggled to score,” Studebaker said. “Unfortunately, that is what people look at. So, they think Claire isn’t that good and she is an awesome player. This is what we knew she was capable of and it bodes well to get that from her at this point in the season.”
Freshman Camryn Francis led East with six points, while Kayly Fetters pulled down six rebounds.
Covington was 15 of 39 from the floor for 38 percent and five of nine from the line for 56 percent.
Miami East was eight of 46 from the floor for 17 percent seven of 14 from the line for 50 percent.
“It is the longest shooting slump of the year for us,” Vanover said. “It is not the end of the world. We have two more games to play, then we get ready for the tournament.”
Covington won the battle of the boards 34-27, but had 21 turnovers to East’s 11.
Covington improved to 13-6 and 8-4, while East dropped to 9-11 and 8-4.
Miami East (23)
Rori Hunley 2-1-5, Mara Posey 0-1-1, Cadence Gross 1-2-4, Kayly Fetters 0-2-2, Kyleigh Kirby 1-0-2, Paxton Hunley 1-0-2, Camryn Francis 3-0-6, Maryn Gross 0-1-1. Totals: 8-7-23.
Meg Rogers 2-0-4, Claudia Harrington 5-1-12, Carlie Besecker 4-3-11, Claire Fraley 4-1-9. Totals: 15-5-36.
3-point field goals - Covington: Harrington.
Score By Quarters:
Miami East 4 13 18 23
Covington 9 17 26 36
Records: Covington 13-6 (8-4), Miami East 9-11 (8-4).