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Zach Parrett and the Covington Buccaneers gave a determined effort in a loss to a very talented Franklin Monroe team in the season opener on Friday.

Nathan lyle scores 2 of his 9 points in the season opener against Franklin Monroe.

2017-18 SCHEDULE

Dec 8
Dec 9
Dec 12
Dec 15
Dec 16
Dec 19
Dec 22
Dec 28
Dec 29
Jan 2
Jan 9
Jan 13
Jan 19
Jan 20
Jan 23
Jan 26
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 6
Feb 9
Feb 13
Feb 16
Feb 23

Franklin Monroe
@ Newton
@ Bradford
Twin Valley South
Troy Christian @ Piqua
Lehman @ Piqua
@ Milton-Union
@ National Trail
@ New Bremen
Miami East
@ Bethel
@ Coldwater
@ Tri-Village
@ Tri-County North
@ Mississinawa Valley

L 54-63
L 46-60
L 48-51
W 55-31
L 36-58
W 50-49
L 37-61
L 31-63
W 47-46
L 61-62
L 39-69
L 40-55
L 43-51
L 48-62
W 50-42
L 63-70
L 55-56
W 65-56
L 42-55
L 48-59
L 44-54





Bethel 12-0 19-3
Franklin Monroe 10-2 16-6
Tri-Village 9-3 15-7
Covington 7-5 11-11
Twin Valley South 7-5 9-13
Ansonia 6-6 12-10
National Trail 6-6 10-12
Miami East 5-7 11-11
Arcanum 5-7 9-13
Mississinawa Valley 4-8 8-14
Tri-County North 3-9 4-18
Newton 2-10 6-16
Bradford 2-10 2-20

Covington coach Matt Pond knew his basketball team would have its hands full to start the season with a very talented Franklin Monroe team, but he didn't know until recently that he'd lose one of just two of his returning lettermen.

Senior point guard Jett Murphy, who is also an extremely talented pole vaulter for the Buccaneer track team, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice - forcing Pond and the Buccs to shuffle the lineup prior to the season opener on Friday.

"What a shame for Jett," sighed Pond of Murphy's injury. "Fortunately his surgery went very well and with some intense rehab he may be able to get back before the end of track season and possibly accomplish his goal at state. For our (basketball) team, that was a big blow because he was penciled in as the starting point guard and a lot of responsibility was going to be on his shoulders."

Without Murphy, others have been forced to pick up the slack.

"That put Chad (Yohey) into a starting role and he's handled it very well in a short period of time," Pond continued. "It's Yohey and some other kids who have to pick up their games."

And despite a 64-53 loss to Franklin Monroe in the season opener, Pond witnesses his kids doing just that - picking up the slack.

"I'm so proud of the way our kids competed tonight," he said. "They (Franklin Monroe) jumped out to a big lead early, but our kids just kept battling and never went away. We had to foul late and they hit their free throws, but our kids continued to fight until the end."

After Buccaneer senior Braden Miller opened up the contest with a trey, Franklin Monroe outscored the Buccs 24-8 over the remainder of the first quarter thanks to the hot hand of junior standout Ethan Conley.

The 6-3 Conley scored 16 of the 24 Jet points in the frame and ended up with a game-high 35 by the final buzzer.

"What a player," praised Pond of Conley. "We had a hand in his face all night, but he still knocked down some big shots. You have to tip your hat to a kid like that."

Trailing 24-11 after one period of play and with just one returning letterman on the floor, Covington could have elected to pack it in.

But that's not the mentality of Covington kids and it's definitely not the mentality of the Buccaneer basketball program.

Instead, Covington scratched and clawed its way back into the game and eventually cut the deficit to 39-33 midway through the third quarter - forcing a Franklin Monroe timeout.

And after the timeout it was Ethan Conley who stepped up once again for the Jets as he score five straight points on a runner and one of his six treys in the game to push the Franklin Monroe lead back to 11 points.

Covington was able to cut the deficit to 43-37 before a long range trey by Parker Hesler at the buzzer gave Franklin Monroe the momentum heading into the final frame.

"We cut it to six in the third, but you have to give them credit because they responded with some big shots," said Pond.

Which was the tone of the final eight minutes as every time Covington cut the deficit to within ten points the Jets responded with big buckets of their own.

Down by eight points with under 2:00 left, Covington was forced to foul and Franklin Monroe took advantage by converting at the free throw line to push its final margin of victory to 64-53.

"Other than the first quarter, we played them pretty even - and we had to foul at the end," said Pond. "A lot of the first quarter was first game jitters. After all, for most of the kids this was their first varsity game, so I'm pretty pleased with our effort."

Conley's 35 points led all scorers, while Zach Cable had a workman-like 15 points for the visitors.

"Number thirty-three and number twenty-two did a lot of damage for them," said Pond of Conley and Cable. "They scored all but fourteen of their points."

For Covington, Zach Parrett led the way with 12 points, while Braden Miller had 11 and Bradley Wiggins had 10.

In all, the Buccaneers had seven players score points on the night.

"That's going to be our style of play this year - have as many guys contribute as possible," Pond said. "We need to be balanced like that on offense to give ourselves the best chance to win on a nightly basis."

Balanced scoring and playing hard for an entire four quarters of basketball.

"Absolutely," agreed Pond. "One thing you can be sure of is our kids will give everything they've got."

Covington (0-1) hosts Versailles tomorrow night, while Franklin Monroe (2-1) travels to Houston.

The Covington faithful show their appreciation for a gritty effort by the Buccaneers.

Franklin Monroe - 24 .. 37 .. 46 .. 64
Covington - 11 .. 23 .. 37 .. 53

Zach Parrett - 12
Braden Miller - 11
Bradley Wiggins - 10
Nathan Lyle - 9
Tyler Fraley - 5
Chad Uohey - 4
Andrew Cates - 2

Ethan Conley - 35
Zach Cable - 15
Kyle Ressler - 5
Cole McGlinch - 5
Parker Hessler - 4

Covington - Zach Parrett (2), Bradley Wiggins (2), Nathan Lyle (1), Braden Miller (1), Tyler Fraley (1)
Franklin Monroe - Ethan Conley (6), Zach Cable (2), Kyle Ressler (1), Parker Hesler (1)

Braden Miller drives to the basket for two of his 11 points.