The Covenant Christian Warriors saw their season end Friday night at the hands of the eventual sectional champion Speedway Sparkplugs with a 61-34 loss.
The game plan was obvious from the start. Slow the game down and make it a half court contest to try and make Speedway play Covenant Christian (5-16) basketball. However, the height advantage and the uptempo push of the Sparkplugs (19-4) quickly became too much for the Warriors as Speedway took a 30-17 lead into halftime.
“Our game plan was to spread the floor out and look for drives down the middle and layups and as a coach you have to make sure they clearly understand the game plan,” Covenant Christian coach Scott Flatt said. “I take responsibility for that. I came up with the game plan and it wasn’t what we wanted it to be. We could have been a little more aggressive; we missed some layups, had some turnovers, and we could have made more free throws but I thought we were still in the game.”
With an entire half left of basketball, a 13-point deficit is hardly a challenge, but the inability to take advantage of opportunities and finish at the basket ended up being the thorn in the side of the Warriors all night.
Covenant Christian would pull within 10 in the third quarter but that was the closest they came the rest of the game. The Warriors turned the ball over, leading to a Speedway fastbreak dunk that took the air out of the Warriors’ sails for good.
“I thought the turning point of the game was the dunk,” Flatt said. “They got momentum and some energy and we struggled to recover at that point.”
Senior Kenton Hipsher contributed 10 points to finish his career.
Hipsher had multiple looks inside off of post moves and drives that didn’t fall, adding to the struggle that the Warriors endured. As the lead grew for Speedway, it became even more evident that it just wasn’t Covenant Christian’s night.
While it’s never easy for seniors to hang up their shoes, especially on an off night like Friday, it’s certainly reassuring to see the future that’s in store for a program that’s just a few years removed from a sectional title.
“It’s always hard to send guys off after games like tonight, but I’m very proud of the group that’s graduating,” Flatt said. “Jarek Brents, Michael Sturm, Anthony Williams, and Kent Hipsher are all high character guys. Their impact and the character they displayed when we faced adversity, talking to guys even though we were losing games and the hope is that those younger guys see that. So we’re very excited about the younger group that we have coming.”