PIQUA – The Ansonia-Covington game was the final contest of the Friday night triple-header at Piqua High School in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV boys basketball tournament.
Ansonia was looking to avenge a 57-38 loss at Covington earlier in the season in Cross County Conference play. The Tiger offense scored in bursts, but not enough of them to avoid going down to defeat again at the hands of the Buccs, losing 48-40.
Covington held an opening 4-0 lead before Devyn Sink and Hunter Muir combined for 7 in a row to give Ansonia a 7-4 advantage with 3:50 left in the first quarter. The Tigers would not score again in the period while the Buccs netted the next 6 points. Ansonia was getting good looks at the basket, but the shots were not falling. Unfortunately, this would be a pattern for the game.
When the second quarter started it was as if someone turned a key and the Tiger offense revved to life. Ansonia blitzed Covington with 10-2 run in the first 2:40 and took a 17-15 lead.
Just as quickly it seemed someone shut the power off because Ansonia would not dent the scoreboard again until a Braydon Swabb triple just before the halftime buzzer. This lull prevented Tigers from building a lead and found themselves trailing 21-20 at the intermission.
The second half was a similar story. Aydan Sanders nailed a 3-ball to start the scoring, but except for a lone free throw Ansonia would not score again until 2:25 was left in the third period. The Tigers did hit two treys, but the Buccs tallied points more consistently and built a 37-30 margin moving into the final stanza.
The Ansonia sputtering offense continued in the fourth quarter, but this time there was nothing to jump-start the attack in time for a comeback. Covington stretched its lead out to 9 before another Sanders triple and then 13 before two Muir free throws stopped the Bucc roll.
“We really wanted to win this game,” Tigers coach Chad Cramer said. “It’s been 10 years since we’ve won a tournament game … They were better than us tonight.”
“I thought we got a lot of inside-out 3s, shot 28 of them,” Coach Cramer continued. “In the second half we got the shots we wanted. We just couldn’t make them. When you shoot that many 3s you live and die by them a little bit. We had been making around 40 percent … tonight around 20 percent. Just wasn’t in the cards tonight.”
When talking about the future Cramer said, “The future is bright if we work … We have some skill work to work on. Do I think our skill became a lot better than last year? With a lot of work I believe it did … We still have a ways to go.”
Ansonia high scorers were Sink with 11, Sanders with 9 and Muir with 7. Covington was led by Jayce Pond, Trevor Miller and Kenny Atkinson who each had 13.
The Tigers finished with 12 victories on the season, which is their highest win total for a season in nearly a decade.