By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
COVINGTON — It was a bad start from the beginning.
But, a big rally in the fourth quarter had Covington boys basketball team in position to tie the game or send it to overtime.
But the Buccs, who seem to be snakebitten in close games, suffered another heartbreaking loss Tuesday night, this time to Ansonia by a 45-42 score in Cross County Conference action.
After Covington had rallied for a 40-31 deficit after three quarters to tie the game 42-42 with two Kleyton Maschino free throws with 59.4 seconds to go, Ansonia elected to hold for the last shot.
Up to that point, the Covington defense had held Ansonia to two points and no field goals in the quarter.
Reece Stammen drove the lane and was fouled with 10.3 seconds to go and was fouled.
Stammen added a free throw to make it 45-42.
After a Covington timeout with 6.1 seconds to go, the Buccs missed a 3-pointer to tie at the buzzer.
Covington had an 11-9 lead after one quarter with Kadin Presser scoring on two putbacks.
But, turnovers plagued the Buccs through the first three quarters, with Covington turning it over 12 times.
Ansonia’s Hunter Buckingham hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter at the Tigers took a 27-23 lead at the break.
Buckingham hit two more 3-pointers in the third quarter and a critical turn came late in the quarter.
With the possession arrow favoring Covington to start the fourth quarter, the Buccs were holding for the last shot, trailing 37-31 — looking for consecutive possessions to cut into the deficit.
But, the shot was off the mark and Ansonia’s Ethan Fischer was fouled shooting a three with .9 seconds remaining in the quarter.
He converted all three free throws to put the Tigers up 40-31.
But, Covington didn’t go down without a fight.
After neither team scored in the first 4:30 of the fourth quarter, Zach Kuntz, Maschino and Spencer Brumbaugh all scored in a 30-second span to get Covington within 40-37 with 3:00 remaining.
After Stammen hit two free throws to make it 42-37 with 2:50 to go, Kuntz had a 3-point play with 2:41 to go to make it 42-40.
That led to Maschino tying it with two free throws with 59.4 seconds to go and set up the heartbreaking finish.
Maschino led Covington with 13 points and Presser added 10.
Brumbaugh scored seven and Kuntz added six.
Stammen led Ansonia with 16 points.
Buckingham scored 13 and Isaac Barga added seven points.
Covington was 16 of 36 from the floor for 44 percent and nine of 11 from the line for 82 percent.
Ansonia was 16 of 45 from the floor for 36 percent and eight of 14 from the line for 57 percent.
Covington won the battle of the boards 26-17, but had 14 turnovers to Ansonia’s 12.
Matthew Farrier 2-0-4, Reece Stammen 6-4-16, Hunter Buckingham 4-1-13, Isaac Barga 3-0-7, Ethan Hemmerich 0-0-0, Ethan Fischer 1-3-5, Ethan Setser 0-0-0. Totals: 16-8-45.
Spencer Brumbaugh 3-1-7, Kadin Presser 4-2-10, Zach Kuntz 2-2-6, Kleyton Maschino 5-2-13, Jaden Barhorst 1-0-2, Jake Hamilton 1-2-4, Wes Gooding 0-0-0. Totals: 16-9-42.
3-point field goals — Ansonia: Buckingham (4), Barga. Covington: Maschino.
Score By Quarters
Ansonia 9 27 40 45
Covington 11 23 31 42