BRADFORD – Trailing 27-15 at the break, the Bradford Railroaders appeared frustrated, confused and totally out of sync. Shots weren’t falling, turnovers were piling up, and every break seemed to be going the other way.
But somehow, the Railroaders regrouped in the second half, erupting for an 8-2 run in the first two minutes of the second half and then eventually taking a 35-34 lead in the waning moments of the frame on a huge trey by Alex Swabb.
Covington responded with a trey of its own to reclaim a 37-35 lead, but the heart and determination of Bradford had put the Railroaders in position to win as the fourth quarter began.
Bradford then tied the score at 37-37 to start the fourth quarter, but Covington once again responded by converting two steals into layups on consecutive possessions to force the Railroaders to take a timeout with 6:30 left in the game.
After the timeout, Covington picked up the defensive pressure, limiting open looks at the basket for Bradford’s outside shooters – shooters who knocked down eight treys in the contest.
The Buccs increased their advantage to 52-45 with just under two minutes to go, which forced the Railroaders to foul in an attempt to lengthen the game. The strategy worked as Covington could only convert on four of its free throws down the stretch, but the Railroaders couldn’t connect on the big shots needed to get back into the game.
The end result was a 56-48 Buccaneer victory in a game that saw two teams lay everything they had on the floor.
Statistically, Covington converted on 21 of 45 shots attempts from the floor for 45 percent, 2 of 8 from the 3-point line for 25 percent and 12 of 22 free throws for 55 percent.
Bradford was 18 of 47 from the floor (38 percent), 8 of 22 from 3-point range (39 percent) and 5 of 12 from the line (42 percent).
Covington held a 37-25 advantage on the boards and a 9-5 edge on the offensive glass.
Both teams committed 10 turnovers in the contest.
Bradford had three kids in double figures with Alex Swabb leading the way with 16 points. Dialaquan Millhouse had 12 points, and Andy Branson scored 10.
Bradford dropped to 1-1 with the loss.
Score by quarters:
Covington – 14 .. 27 .. 37 .. 56
Bradford – 4 .. 15 .. 35 .. 48
Tristan Sowers – 17
Jordan Maschino – 12
Trevor Miller – 10
Nathan Blei – 8
Jayce Pond – 5
Jett Murphy – 2
Kenny Atkinson – 2
Alex Swabb – 16
Dialaquan Millhouse – 12
Andy Branson – 10
Parker Smith – 6
Drew Patty – 3
Josh Phillips – 1
Covington: Jordan Maschino (1), Trevor Miller (1)
Bradford: Alex Swabb (4), Dialaquan Millhouse (2), Parker Smith (2)