Gunner Kimmel and the Covington Buccaneers battled extremely hard against a talented Fort Loramie team in the opening round of the sectional tournament. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo

PIQUA – It was obvious the Covington Buccaneers had their hands full against a talented Fort Loramie team in the opening round of the sectional tournament, but the kids in black and white can hold their heads high despite a 78-54 loss due to the effort they gave.

Things didn’t start out well for the Buccs as Fort Loramie built a 19-6 lead in the opening frame. It wasn’t due to poor execution by Covington as the Buccs had many open looks. Unfortunately, shots just wouldn’t fall.

Many teams would fold when down early, but the Buccaneers never relented as they battled back to cut the deficit to 22-18 midway through the second period to force Fort Loramie to take a timeout.

The Redskins followed by outscoring the Buccs 11-6 over the remainder of the half to take a 33-22 lead at the break.

After outscoring Fort Loramie 16-14 in the second period, the Buccaneers continued to battle in the third period as Britton Miller hit on a pair of buckets, Brogan Angle connected on a trey, Tanner Palsgrove scored on a basket and two free throws followed by a basket by Bryson Hite. Unfortunately, Fort Loramie was able to extend its lead to 50-35 by dropping in 17 points in the third.

The overall effort Covington gave in the first three periods showed the wear and tear on the Buccs in the final frame as Fort Loramie had much more depth and was able to keep fresh legs on the floor by rotating players in and out of the lineup for much of the game.

The Redskins were able to take advantage of Covington’s tiredness in the final frame by outscoring the Buccs 28-19. Despite the circumstances, the Buccs continued to fight until the final buzzer sounded as Connor Hiumphrey drilled three treys and Brogan Angle hit another three-pointer in the final period. Three two-point buckets were contributed by Tanner Palsgrove, Britton Miller and Kian French and Miller also hit a free throw.

Overall, it was a great learning experience for a Covington team who will return all but one senior (Mic Barhorst) on the roster next season.

The Buccs close out the 2022-23 campaign with a 6-17 record.

Sophomore Tanner Palsgrove led the Buccs with 15 points. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo

Fort Loramie – 19 – 14 – 17 – 28 = 78
Covington – 6 – 16 – 13 – 19 = 54

Tanner Palsgrove – 15
Britton Miller – 11
Connor Humphrey – 11
Brogan Angle – 9
Gunner Kimmel – 4
Bryson Hite – 2
Kian French – 2

C. Maurer – 21
E. Keiser – 16
R. Hoelscher – 14
A. Pleiman – 12
L. Eilerman – 5
D. Eilerman – 2
M. Maurer – 2
S. Knouff – 2
C. Gasson – 2
C. Pleiman – 2

Covington – Connor Humphrey (3), Brogan Angle (3), Tanner Palsgrove (1)
Fort Loramie – E. Keiser (4), C. Maurer (3), A. Pleiman (1)

Bryson Hite knocks down a jumper under intense defensive pressure. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo