COVINGTON – Two of the top Cross County Conference basketball teams took to the court Thursday night. Tri-Village used a 16-point third quarter to gain separation and held off a late Covington rally for a 52-42 win.
In the opening quarter the Patriots scored quickly, going up 7-2 on a triple from Lissa Siler and two scores at the rim on the break from Maddie Downing and Trissa Porter.
The Buccs closed the gap to 10-8 with 2:45 and then tied it at 12 by quarter’s end on 6 points from Samantha Whiteman and 4 points from Victoria Lyle.
Covington grabbed its first and only lead early in the second quarter on a fielder from Makenzie Long to go up 14-12.
But the Patriots slowly started to rebuild their lead, and when Andi Bietry drained a triple they led 24-16 at 2:41.
The Patriots had many opportunities to build a larger lead but made a few bad decisions and turned the ball over in the last 35 seconds of the first half, giving up an old-fashioned 3-point play and bomb from beyond the arch to let the Buccs back in at the half trailing 24-22.
The Buccs tied the game after the break, but then the Patriots went to work again … this time it was spear-headed by their defense.
Siler was given the task to try and play solid defense and keep Covington star Samantha Whiteman in check … as she goes so do the Buccs.
Siler and the rest of the Patriot defense held her scoreless in the third quarter, allowing them to build a 40-29 lead heading into the final stanza.
“Lissa’s defensive effort in the third quarter on Whiteman was big holding her scoreless,” Tri-Village girls basketball coach Brad Gray said. “Of course, it was a team effort. We had a lot of help coming toward her trying to bring double teams. I thought our half-court defense was much better for us in the second half then our full court was to us in the first half.”
Downing scored 7 points and Siler 5 to lead the Patriots in a 16 point third quarter effort.
After doing a great job of slowing down Whiteman, she would assert herself in a big way in the fourth frame, erupting for 12 points and trying to strap the Buccs on her back in a comeback.
But the Patriots used the lead they had to slow the game and spread the floor.
Peyton Bietry took advantage, scoring three times at the rim and 7 points all in the final frame.
Andi Bietry also scored 3 of her 9 points for the game in the fourth quarter, helping seal it at the free throw line as the PATS beat the Buccs 52-42.
“Peyton Bietry hasn’t played a ton of minutes, probably not as many as she would like, but I thought in the first half she came in and made a great post entry pass for an and-one. Then in the second half she made a couple of big baskets, handled the ball and boxed out really well on some of the long rebounds and those were key,” Gray said.
“We’ve had some tough road games so far this year, and coming here to Covington we knew were in for a competitive game. I thought we stepped up and answered the call. Tonight, we really grew up and made some really good plays, especially in the second half,” Gray concluded.
Downing led TV with a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Siler had 12 points, Andi Bietry added 9, and Porter had 7 points and six rebounds.
The Patriots won the battle of the boards 30-22 and shot 45 percent on 18-of-40 shooting from the floor. They improved to 10-2 overall and 7-0 in the CCC.
The Buccs shot 33 percent on 17-for-52 from the floor and were led by Whiteman with 21 points. They fell to 8-4 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
With the win Tri-Village remains atop the conference with Miami East. Both are undefeated and the Vikings will be coming to New Madison on Thursday in a big showdown.
Score by quarters
TV … 12 …12 … 16 … 12 – 52
COV .12 …10 … 07 … 13 – 42
Tri-Village – Emma Printz 3, Peyton Bietry 7, Trisa Porter 7, Andi Bietry 9, Lissa Siler 12, Maddie Downing 14; Totals 4-14-12/17 – 52
Covington – Makenzie Long 7, Samantha Whiteman 21, Lillian Hamilton 4, Jordan Crowell 6, Victoria Lyle 4; Totals – 3-14-5/10 – 42