COVINGTON – Tri-Village wasn’t about to let Covington’s leading scorer Jessie Crowell beat them.
That was evident by the way the Lady Patriots swarmed to the ball when it was in Crowell’s hands – preventing the Covington senior from getting off her fade-away jumper or driving to the basket.
The result was just six points in the contest for Crowell, which forced Covington to look at other scoring options – options that kept the Lady Buccs in the game but not enough to prevent Tri-Village from claiming a 47-40 victory on Covington’s home floor.
“Allie (Downing) played outstanding defense on (Jessie) Crowell,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “It was probably the best I’ve seen her play defensively.”
While Downing was in Crowell’s face all night, the Lady Patriots pounded the ball inside to 5-foot 10-inch junior Danika Mann, who finished with a game-high 22 points to go along with the quiet 16 points scored by Downing.
“We were having success pounding the ball inside to Danika and had them down by 11, but for some reason we went away from that and settled for jumpers,” Gray said. “We let them creep back into the game, but I thought we did a much better job in the second half of taking advantage of what I felt was a significant advantage inside.”
Tri-Village held a 21-10 advantage with just under four minutes to go in the first half, but Covington went on a 7-0 run to close out the half and then scored the first bucket of the second half to close the gap to 21-19.
But that was as close as the Lady Buccs would get as the Lady Patriots went back to what had led to a big lead – pounding the ball inside to Danika Mann.
The junior scored 10 of the 15 Tri-Village points in the third to push the Patriot advantage to 36-29 with one quarter to play.
Then, Tri-Village took the air of of the basketball as it used nearly two minutes on its first possession to score points, which came on free throws by Shelbey Dowler.
From there, Covington was forced to foul in an attempt to extend the game, but Tri-Village held serve by matching the Lady Buccs’ 11 fourth quarter points to preserve a 47-40 win.
“I’m not sure what to say sir, but we didn’t play well at all,” Covington coach Craig Maschino said. “We didn’t execute at either end of the floor.”
With Crowell held in check, Covington did receive big offensive efforts from freshman Sammy Whiteman and senior Brooke Gostomsky. Whiteman led Covington with 12 points, and Gostomksy had 11.
“Brooke played a nice game,” Maschino said. “She played a good game defensively, but we let her down with our lack of help-side defense. We wanted to front Danika in the post and rely on our backside help, and Brooke did what she was asked.”
Even in victory, Gray was impressed by what he saw in Covington’s effort.
“Covington played a scrappy game,” he said. “We couldn’t deliver the the knockout blow when we had them on the ropes and a lot of credit goes to them for that.”
Regardless, the outcome was huge for both teams in regards to the league title race as Tri-Village remains perfect in the Cross County Conference at 2-0 and Covington falls to 1-1.
The Lady Buccs look to rebound on Thursday as they host Bradford while Tri-Village hopes to keep its momentum rolling on Thursday at Newton.
Score by quarters:
Tri-Village…10…11…15…11 – 47
Covington…08…09…12…11 – 40
Tri-Village (4-0, 2-0)
Danika Mann 22, Allie Downing 16, Rachel Miller 6, Shelbey Dowler 3
Covington (3-2, 1-1)
Samantha Whiteman 12, Brooke Gostomsky 11, Jessie Crowell 6, Carly Shell 5, Rayna Horner 2, Tori Lyle 2, Jordan Crowell 2
TV 2 (Downing 2)
COV 3 (Gostomsky 2, Crowell)
TV – 27 rebounds
COV – 27 rebounds
TV – 13 turnovers
COV – 14 turnovers