WEST ALEXANDRIA — Cold shooting didn’t give Twin Valley South a chance in its 47-32 loss to Covington on Friday, Jan. 8.
The Panthers began the game with misses on nine of their first 11 shots as the Buccaneers jumped out to an 18-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Giving up 18 in the first quarter was a big difference,” South coach Ryan Innis said.
While South played Covington fairly even from that point on – being outscored just 29-27 across the final three quarters – the deficit became too great to overcome.
“We adjusted there in the second quarter and simplified things and just played off of one of our base defenses,” Innis said. “But for us, offensively, to get easier shots, we’ve still got to attack gaps better in the zone. Probably our seventh game now that a team has shown zone against us. We just have to do a better job of moving the ball. We can’t get stagnant.”
Coming out of the locker room down 31-19, senior Tyler Wright hit a 3-pointer to make it 31-22.
However, misses on five of South’s next six shots and some questionable calls from the officials led to Covington finishing the quarter 13-2 run, making it 44-24 heading into the fourth.
The Buccaneers would score just three points in the fourth on an and-one, but South was unable to build momentum, shooting just 3-of-20 during the final eight minutes to make the final 47-32.
Overall, South finished 12-of-50 (24 percent) from the field.
“Our spark has to come from our defensive intensity,” he said. “It’s no secret we struggle to score at times in the half court and our M.O. from here on out has got to be play man, get after it, make the game ugly, create easy turnovers to create easy scoring opportunities for us. That’s where our spark has to come from.”
Despite some of the challenges South has faced this season, Innis said there are plenty of positives to take away from his team.
“I talked to my guys right there in the locker room [and] I said, ‘There’s one thing that I’m super proud of you guys [is] that you guys do not quit on us.’ Kudos to that group,” he said. “Only having one win, they could quit and kind of mope around and point fingers and fight and argue, but those guys are so tight-knit and close together.”
Innis went on to say that he understands how badly they want to win and that he feels for them.
“I appreciate their effort because it could definitely go in a different direction, but these guys continue to come back, battle, do the things we tell them and they’re buying into the culture,” he said. “I keep telling him eventually things are gonna work out. Just continue to believe. Continue to believe and ride the ship.”
Senior Tyler Wright led South with 10 points via three 3-pointers and a free throw. Junior Lucas Sievering had eight points, followed by senior Brayden Marker with six and senior Levi Gearhart with four. Junior Grant Ulrich added two points as freshmen Jace Thuma and Cloe Bishop each tossed in a free throw.
The Panthers (1-10, 1-4 CCC) were scheduled to play at Valley View on Tuesday, Jan. 12, and are set to play back-to-back home games against Bethel and Brookville on Jan. 15 and 16.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles