The Covington Lady Buccs took care of business on “Senior Night” by defeating Lehman 56-26 to claim a share of the inaugural Three Rivers Conference Championship with Bethel.
Wednesday night was one for the ages for Covington Lady Buccs basketball under third-year coach Brandon Studebaker and his outstanding staff consisting of assistant coaches Kayla McEldowney, Heather Schneider, Ashley Johnson and Chelsea Clawson.
First, senior Claudia Harrington, who had verbally committed to continue her basketball career at Muskingum University earlier in the year, made it official prior to the regular season finale against Lehman with a signing as family, coaches, teammates and friends were on hand to celebrate the occasion.
Then, in Harrington’s final game on the home floor with fellow seniors Claire Fraley and Parker Metz, the Lady Buccs put on a show in capturing a 56-26 win over Lehman Catholic to stake their claim as the Three Rivers Conference Champions – tying co-champions Bethel with a 12-2 mark in the league.
And in the process Harrington put the finishing touches on a resume Claudia, her coaches and teammates feel will lead to the senior standout being selected as the “Most Valuable Player” in the league.
Harrington is near the top in many statistical categories in the TRC, but statistics don’t tell the entire story of her value to the Lady Buccs on the basketball court. Her most valuable asset is the example she sets for current teammates and future generations through her leadership and work ethic.
This was evident throughout the season and Wednesday night as Harrington set the tone of the game from the outset and displayed leadership throughout the contest – even when things didn’t go smoothly for Covington against a very gritty Lehman squad.
Early on it looked as if Covington was going to blow the roof off of the gym as it surged to a 25-10 lead after one quarter of play.
Harrington sparked the fast start with seven points in the frame, while fellow senior Parker Metz came up big off the bench with a pair of huge buckets from the baseline.
Suddenly Covington went into a cold funk offensively through the remainder of the half and throughout the third period, but fortunately the defense was able to keep Lehman from chipping into the lead.
Leading 43-24 heading into the final frame, Covington found its offensive groove as senior Claire Fraley connected on a trio of buckets inside the paint.
With a comfortable lead, Covington eventually pulled the three seniors to a standing ovation from the home crowd and turned the game over to the bench with around 4:00 left.
The Lady Buccs closed out the final frame with a 13-2 scoring advantage to secure the 30-point win.
With the win, Covington captured its eighth conference championship in the history of girls basketball and the first league title since 2006.
Harrington led the Lady Buccs with a game-high 18 points and now has 1079 in her stellar career.
Fellow senior Claire Fraley came up big as well with 11 hard-earned points from inside the paint and at the free throw line.
The third Lady Bucc senior, Parker Metz, tallied four points and and contributed greatly at both ends of the floor where statistics are not counted.
The Lady Buccs are back in action in the second round of sectional play next Tuesday, February 15th at 7pm against Troy Christian. The game will be played at Trotwood-Madison High School.
Covington: 25 – 9 – 9 – 13 =5 6
Lehman: 10 – 4 – 10 – 2 = 26
Covington – 56
18-2pt FG, 4-3pt FG (M. Anderson 2, G. Anderson 1, Harrington 1), 8/20 FT
Claudia Harrington – 18
Claire Fraley – 11
Maggie Anderson – 8
Gracie Anderson – 7
Carlie Besecker – 6
Parker Metz – 4
Hannah Alexander – 2
Lehman – 26
8-2pt FG, 3-3pt FG (Toner 2, Wisner 1) 1/2 FT
Heidi Toner – 13
Caroline Wisner – 5
Layla Platfoot – 4
Darla Lee – 2
Mara O’Leary – 2