COVINGTON — On a 9-0 run and possessing a 31-23 lead in the third quarter, things looked good for the Mississinawa Valley girls basketball team Thursday night.
But then Covington increased its defensive pressure and forced some Mississinawa mistakes as the Lady Buccs went on a 21-2 run en route to a 48-40 Covington victory.
“We had an eight-point lead, and when they changed the momentum of the game, that changed the way we played,” Mississinawa Valley coach Bo Humphries said. “They changed the tempo of the game. And when they changed the tempo of the game, instead of us doing what we needed to do, we just made mistakes. We kept creating turnovers.”
Mississinawa Valley had 15 turnovers in the second half after having just five turnovers in the first half, which was too much for the Lady Hawks to overcome.
“When they hurried us up, that created problems for us,” Humphries said. “Instead of us just keeping our composure and reacting to what they were doing and just keep doing what we wanted to do, they made us do what they wanted us to do instead of us doing what we needed to do.”
Mississinawa Valley never trailed in the first quarter, going on an 8-0 run to open up a 10-2 lead on Covington early in the game. Logan Nelson, Heather Dirksen, Mackenzie Dirmeyer and Nicole Scholl all scored in the opening period for the Hawks as they held a 14-13 lead at the end of the period.
Covington took a 16-14 lead early in the second quarter with a 3-pointer from Carly Shell — the Buccs’ fourth of the half after three 3-pointers from Arianna Richards in the first quarter.
But then both offenses went cold.
It took more than five minutes of second quarter play for Mississinawa Valley to score, tying the game on a Dirksen basket and regaining the lead with free throws from Madison Livingston and Dirksen to cling to a 20-19 advantage at halftime.
Covington regained the lead at 23-22 early in the third quarter before Mississinawa Valley got rolling. Scholl, Victoria Humphries and Nelson all scored as the Hawks went on a 9-0 run to take a 31-23 lead.
But then things started to fall apart for Mississinawa Valley as Covington amped up the pressure.
Covington scored the final nine points of the third quarter to take a 32-31 lead. The Buccaneers then scored 12 of the first 14 fourth quarter points to increase the lead to 44-33.
“One of these games, we’ll figure it out and we’ll put four quarters of basketball together,” coach Humphries said. “It just we’re making silly mistakes on the floor.”
With scoring from Livingston, Humphries and Scholl, Mississinawa Valley kept the game close but couldn’t overcome the deficit, losing 48-40 in the Cross County Conference game.
Scholl led Mississinawa Valley with a game-high 13 points in the loss. Also for the Hawks, Dirksen scored nine points, Humphries scored six, Nelson scored six, Dirmeyer scored four, and Livingston scored two.
Cassidy Cain and Richards led Covington with 13 points each in the game. Also for the Buccs, Shell scored nine points, Heidi Cron scored six, Lexie Long scored four, Brooke Gostomsky scored two, and Morgan McReynolds scored one.
Mississinawa Valley fell to 1-5 with Thursday’s loss while Covington improved to 2-4.
“We’ve got to put together four quarters of basketball,” coach Humphries said. “We need to get some leadership on the floor to where it directs this team.”
Mississinawa Valley returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday as it travels to Northeastern.