With Tandem’s boys basketball team surging at the end of the third quarter, Covenant needed someone to step up.
Enter Jake Haney.
“Jake was really smart, he just took what the defense gave him and we got a couple of rotations and he got some early shots,” said Covenant coach Clark Walker. “He has that aggression all the time.”
Haney unleashed a pair of 3-pointers right at the start of the fourth to erase a slight Tandem edge. From there, the Eagles’ took care of business and closed the door on the Quakers 72-62.
Tandem poured in 21 third quarter points with 11 coming from Latrell Winkey, transforming a four-point halftime lead by Covenant into a 46-43 lead for the Quakers. When Covenant huddled during the short break between the third and fourth though, it was apparent to Walker that the Eagles were in a good place.
“All five seniors you could see in their eyes that they really wanted to come back in this game,” Walker said. “We really just told them to attack.”
Sam Walkup got into a groove down low after Haney’s big buckets, scoring nine of his 15 for the game in the final frame. He finished with eight rebounds. Haney finished with 11 points and eight boards while Bryce Boland had 14 points, all in the first half for the Eagles. Covenant had to be patient offensively as Tandem packed into a 2-3 zone to combat the Eagles’ height advantage.
“Tandem did a great job trying to force certain actions but once we got a little more confident and quicker on the rotations we were able to get what we needed in the fourth quarter,” Walker said.
That defensive focus in the zone was a big reason that Tandem managed to put together that strong third quarter. With a little more success at the line where the Quakers went 11-for-22, the final score may have been a little different.
“Our defense set the tone all evening, the zone was working well our guys were communicating well,” said Tandem coach Robert Jordan. “Our guys did a good job of boxing out and banging the boards.”
Defensively Covenant had to contend with Winkey the entire game as he poured in 33 points for Tandem, hitting six threes including a couple from way beyond the arc. Winkey also helped set the table for Rodes Jarman to put in 13 points to help the Quakers’ effort.
“He’s a very unselfish player and he can play on both ends of the court,” Jordan said. “He just brings so much excitement. He’s been a great addition to our basketball team.”
Tandem will look to bounce back Saturday in a clash with Quantico while Covenant travels to take on Roanoke Catholic Friday night.