COVINGTON — The Covington girls basketball team battled back the whole second half.
And the Buccs had several possessions in the final minute with a chance to tie or take the lead.
But, Anna was able to hold on for a 43-41 victory, dropping Covington to 13-4 on the season.
“We got in foul trouble in the first half,” Covington coach Brandon Studebaker said. “I think we were down 10 points (in the third quarter. But, these kids never stop battling. We had some chances at the end.”
Anna had taken a 34-24 lead with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Kayli Brewer.
But, Carlie Besecker scored the final five points of the third quarter, Claudia Harrington opened the fourth quarter with a basket and Maggie Anderson bombed in a 3-pointer with 6:41 to go in the game to tie the game at 34-34.
“Those are the kind of things you have to do,” Studebaker said.
Brewer, whose penetration was a problem all night, drove to the basket to make it 38-36 with 3:11 to go.
“Our helpside defense wasn’t there all night,” Studebaker said. “She is quick and can do things with the ball. But, we have to do a better job than that. Anna exposed some weaknesses that we need to work on.”
The score remained that way and Anna had the ball with 1:11 to go and Covington only had three team fouls at the time.
The Buccs were able to commit four fouls in the next 15 seconds.
Brewer went to the line with 56.7 seconds to go and hit both free throws to make it 40-36.
Claudia Harrington answered with a 3-pointer at the other end with 39.7 seconds to go to make it 40-39.
“You need seniors to step up like that,” Studebaker said.
Anna then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but there was a jump ball on the rebounds, allowing the Rockets to maintain possession.
Jenna Wolters hit two free throws with 31.3 seconds to go to put Anna up 42-39 and Besecker scored with 22.1 seconds to go to get the Buccs within 41-42.
Following a timeout, Covington had a steal on the inbounds, but the Buccs turned the ball back over.
“I thought when we got that turnover, but then we turned it back over,” Studebaker said.
Brewer hit one of two free throws with 13.9 seconds to go to make it 43-41.
Covington came down and was unable to get a shot off and the clock ran out as Anna chased the ball down across midcourt.
Despite having two starters on the bench for much of the first half, it looked like Covington might go to the locker room with the lead.
Harrington and Besecker — who had 36 of Covington’s 41 points and all 15 in the first half, had back-to-back baskets to put Covington up 15-13 in the final minute of the half.
But, Brewer hit a 3-pointer and Brenna Cobb hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Anna a 19-15 lead at the break.
“We should have only been down one point at half,” Studebaker said. “We got hurt on the boards in the first half and then we just lost the girl at the end of the half.”
Anna would open the lead to 10 points in the third quarter, before Covington’s rally came up just short.
Harrington had 20 points for the Buccs.
Besecker had 16 points and seven rebounds and Claire Fraley pulled down seven rebounds.
Brewer had 18 points for Anna and Cobb had 14 points and five rebounds.
Lenna Rowland also pulled down five rebounds.
Covington was 15 of 36 from the floor for 42 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Anna was 14 of 44 from the floor for 32 percent and 11 of 15 from the line for 73 percent.
Anna won the battle of the boards 21-20 and had six turnovers to Covington’s 16.