Covington captured their fifth sectional in a row on Saturday by defeating Clinton Central 68-39 after reaching the finals with a 67-33 over Faith Christian.
After having defeated Lafayette Central Catholic in the opening round, the Trojans were favored to win the crown, but as head coach Adam Ballard pointed out, “You have to go out and focus on every game – you can’t take any win for granted.”
His team did just that in the final as they started their game with Clinton Central on a 9-0 spurt with four different players scoring.
Daniel Keller opened with a lay-up followed by Logan Pinkerton, then Colton Brown hit a three-pointer, and Caleb Ellmore completed the run with a putback.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with a three-pointer at the 4:33 mark and would go on to make two more of them in the next 90 seconds, but a pair of baskets by Pinkerton insured the Trojans would maintain their lead.
Clinton Central did not score again in the period, but Covington got a basket from Logan Herzog and a free throw from Savion Waddell to double the Bulldogs at 18-9.
Ellmore made it 20 points for the Trojans as the second quarter started, but Clinton Central got their first non-three of the game on a lay-up 30 seconds into the period.
Covington then went on a 15-0 run to move the score from 20-11 to 35-11 before their opponent would score again.
Brown hit three treys, a basket after an Alan Karrfalt steal and two free throws for 13 of those 15 Trojan points with Waddell adding the other two on a lay-up.
The Bulldogs ended their almost six-minute scoring drought with a trey, but Brown made two free throws for his 14th and 15th points of the quarter to give Covington a 37-14 lead at halftime.
For the last few weeks, Ballard had said he expected Brown to have “an explosive three-point game” and, after the contest, the senior guard said this performance was nothing special.
“Our team always tries to feed the hot hand and after I made one, they kept passing me the ball,” Brown explained. “A couple of games ago, it was [Daniel] Keller who was hot so we fed him. It’s just how we play – it’s not about me.”
Covington continued to pull away throughout the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 20-8 for a 57-22 lead.
The Trojans continued to extend their lead in the fourth period, but Ballard was not happy with the play of the team in that period as the team committed several turnovers and also gave up three open three-pointers.
Part of those problems came from the fact that Ballard emptied his bench and while he noted there was no drop off in energy or intensity with the subs, there were a few execution problems when all of the starters were out of the game.
“We got a chance to keep the starters fresh,” he explained, “and we gave the rest of the team some reps out there which is always good.”
Taking advantage of some fourth quarter minutes were Herzog and Alex Rogers who hit baskets and freshman Duncan Keller who hit a game-ending three-pointer that made the final score 68-39.
With the victory, Covington advances to play Southwood in the first game of the Frankfort Regional.
Ballard said the team and coaches would celebrate that evening, but the coaches would start preparing on Sunday for the players’ return to practice on Monday.
Brown said the team had a goal this year of winning a regional so “the work isn’t done” with Ballard adding, “We didn’t want to talk about the regional until we won the sectional. Now we can do that, but we won’t look ahead. We’ll still focus on one game at a time.”