The Warriors are back-to-back Sectional 42 champions! Last night, Covenant pulled out a 71-68 victory in a triple overtime thriller, defeating the host, Heritage Christian, for a third time this season. It was a gritty battle, but the team fought until the end and now advance to Regionals next weekend.
Covenant sought after a stronger start than the previous two games. After winning the tip-off, Graham Shelton opened up the scoring on either side with a 3-pointer. Teams traded points throughout much of the quarter, but Heritage knocked down some 3’s of their own while Covenant missed several attempts. Heritage took and maintained the lead, finishing the quarter ahead 8-14.
Heritage controlled much of the tempo in the second quarter as Covenant struggled to generate much offense. Tony Flatt provided a spark for the Warriors, though, as he forced a steal and block, plus he scored a bucket in the quarter. Heritage’s Jack Belt, however, knocked down a couple more 3’s in the quarter, while Covenant only shot 1 of 4 from the free-throw line. The Warriors were held to 7 points in the quarter as Heritage extended their lead to 9, 15-24.
All the momentum seemed to be going Heritage’s way, but after the halftime break the Warriors came storming back. Covenant went on a 11-0 run to start the half after Micah Wilson knocked down back-to-back 3’s, followed by another 3-pointer from G. Shelton. The Warriors retook the lead off a steal that resulted in a layup for G. Shelton. Heritage’s Miles Colvin was able to stop the bleeding off a bucket. The teams then exchanged points the remainder of the quarter, but Covenant held a 34-33 lead going into the fourth.
Heritage came out strong in the quarter, scoring the first 7 points. Covenant called a timeout to regroup and then scored on the next possession. On each of the next couple possessions for the Warriors they scored, but Heritage responded by knocking down more 3’s. The Eagles eventually extended the lead to 10, but CCHS wasn’t ready to give up. Caleb Crane knocked down a 3 of his own and on the ensuing possession Micah Wilson stole the ball that resulted in a pull-up 3 for Trey Flatt to draw within 4 points. On the next possession, Covenant forced a jump ball, which then led to Brock Buckley driving to the basket, drawing an and-one. He made his free-throw to cut the lead to 1 with one minute to go. Buckley then scored the next bucket to regain the lead, but Heritage’s Belt scored another 3 to take a 2-point lead. Trey Flatt drew a foul at the end of the quarter and knocked down two clutch free-throws to tie it up. Some smart fouls by the Warriors prevented Heritage from getting a good look at the end of the quarter, sending the game into overtime with a score of 51-51.
All three overtimes were nail-biters for either side. Heritage applied most of the pressure as the Warriors had to come from behind to tie it up. Crane, Shelton and Tr. Flatt accounted for the Warriors 7 points as they had another defensive stop to force another overtime. Heritage led in much of the second OT as a defensive battle ensued. Wilson and Flatt accounted for the 4 points for the Warriors. Heritage had another opportunity to win the game at the end of the second overtime, but Covenant stood their ground and forced a third overtime.
While Heritage scored the first points, Covenant put the pressure on the Eagles as they retook the lead. Flatt scored almost immediately after they scored, and Buckley scored a nice post move to retake the lead. Heritage tied things up in the next possession, but committed a shooting foul on Micah Wilson, who then knocked down two key free-throws. Heritage’s hot shooting came to an end as they missed a 3 on the other end. Trey Flatt was fouled on the next possession, but missed his free throw, giving Heritage the ball back. Graham Shelton made a huge interception that then sent Flatt to the free throw line again where he went 1-2. Heritage scored again to draw within 1. A timeout was called, but the Warriors were able to inbound the ball to Graham Shelton who was then fouled with 4 seconds left to play. He knocked down his two more free-throws to finish the route and secure the Sectional title.
It was a hard fought battle for the Warriors, but they were able to endure and repeat as Sectional 42 champions. Graham Shelton and Trey Flatt each finished with 16. Micah Wilson added 14, while Brock Buckley and Caleb Crane added 10 each. Heritage’s Belt scored 25 points, knocking down 6 threes. Colvin also posted a strong 18 points for the Eagles.
Covenant now advances to take on #2 Shenandoah (24-3) this upcoming Saturday. Game time is at 12:30pm at Greenfield-Central High School. The winner will take on #5 Parke Heritage (24-3) or Triton Central (13-8) at 8pm for the Regional championship. Ticketing and livestreaming info will be released early this week.