Covetta surpasses 1,000 career points in Falcons tournament win over Rockets

Feb. 28—JEFFERSON — Midway through the third quarter, Anthony Covetta eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring mark in his high school basketball career, but it actually may have been his 10th rebound of the game that brought the greatest satisfaction to him.

Covetta snagged the rebound on the final shot of the game, a miss by Bay Village that allowed the Falcons to hang on for a 71-70 boys basketball win over the Rockets in Division II sectional basketball action at Jefferson High School Tuesday night.

"I planned on hitting 1,000 points as a junior," he said. "A lot of players do it as a senior, but it's a blessing regardless and it's a great feeling regardless."

One thousand points is a great milestone, but getting the postseason win was even bigger.

"It would have been a much different feeling had we not won," Covetta said. "Coming out with the playoff win is the biggest thing. We fell in the first round last year to a lower seed, this is big for us."

The win moved Jefferson to 14-9 on the season and advances them to Friday night's Division II sectional final against Cleveland Benedictine at home.

After a close first quarter, Jefferson opened up a 39-25 lead at halftime and were up 57-44 after three quarters.

They were still up by 11 with four minutes to go in the fourth, but the Rockets refused to go away.

Using a full-court trap and some timely 3-point shooting, Bay forced seven Jefferson turnovers and outscored the Falcons 17-6 to tie the game at 70 with 38 seconds remaining.

Jefferson coach Rob Pisano said the press wasn't the problem ... it was the pressure late in the game that his team has struggled to overcome all season.

"It's handling the moment, handling crunch time," the coach said. "All year we have struggled in those moments. We've lost multiple close games, two buzzer beaters, two overtime games, so it's gone on all year. The only way to get better at it is to play games like this and hope we get better at it."

Bay tied the game on a three-pointer by Max Cockburn, but then fouled Terry Brown on the ensuing Falcon possession, sending the sophomore to the free throw line for two shots.

Brown missed the first free throw, but sank the second to give Jefferson the one-point lead with 27.6 seconds to play.

Bay called time out, and Pisano had a clear and simple message for his team.

"Have the heart to guard your man one on one, keep him in front of you and get a hand up," he said. "You put yourself in this situation, so have some heart, keep your man in front of you, contest the shot and get the rebound."

On the final possession, Bay worked the ball to 6-foof-6 senior Evan Alexy, but Joe DeGeorge got his hand up and swatted away his shot attempt almost before it left his hand.

Brendan Spellman grabbed up the deflected shot and got off a would-be buzzer beater that clanged off the iron and into the hands of Covetta to preserve the win.

Covetta led the way in scoring with 28 points while DeGeorge had 23. Each player also had nine rebounds.

The Rockets, who finished the season with a record of 9-14 were paced by Cockburn with 18.

"It doesn't matter if you win by one or you win by 20," Covetta said. "It's all about getting to the next round now."