Jordan Hoover just needed an inch of space and he was ready to launch. Good thing for the Broncos, the senior guard’s aim was true.
Hoover’s 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play gave Boyd its first lead of the second half at Covenant Thursday. The Broncos made it hold up late, with Jalyn Mart hitting three sealing free throws as Boyd prevailed 46-42.
“It was a hard-fought and physical game,” said Boyd coach Chris Perry. “Their point guard is a talented player. We really missed Joel Smith offensively, but we played well defensively. I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win.”
Boyd (3-5) trailed by as many as 10 in the second half, but closed on a 14-4 run in the final 3:14 after Ian Lyles gave Covenant a 38-32 lead on a 3-pointer.
The Broncos mounted a fierce rally, scoring six quick points by using their size in the paint. Posts Bryson Stiles and Christian Rogers knocked in back-to-back layups before Jalyn Mart tipped in his own miss to tie the game at 38 with 1:52 to play.
Terry Hines, the Covenant point guard, helped break the tie on the following possession. Hines sliced through the middle of the Boyd defense, drawing four defenders before spoon-feeding Ethan Hillis for a wide-open layup.
Hines, who scored a team-high 13 points, picked off a Boyd pass seconds later, giving Covenant the ball with less than a minute to play while nursing a 40-38 lead.
Boyd was able to force a turnover out of a late Covenant timeout though, then raced up court looking for a chance to tie or take the lead.
Hoover went for the lead.
The senior slipped open for a split second from the top of the key and launched a high-arching shot which touched nothing but net to push Boyd ahead 41-40.
Covenant had a chance to take the lead back on the ensuing possession, but Stiles swatted a layup to Mart, who was fouled with 21.9 seconds left and hit both free throws. Mart hit five free throws in the last 21 seconds, part of his game-high 14 points.
It was a tough way for the Lions to fall, especially after building a double-digit advantage in the second half. David Netherton added 12 points in the loss, 10 coming in the first half when he got his team off to hot start at home.
It lasted for 31 minutes before Boyd seized victory in the final 60 seconds.
Our kids played extremely hard and battled the whole game. They did everything I asked them to do. I have to do a better job of putting them in situations to be successful,” said Covenant coach Ryan Smith. “I thought we got loose with the ball late and in a game like that every possession is important and you can’t afford to have turnovers, especially late in a close game. Some of the mistakes late I think were because of fatigue and I have to do a better job of managing minutes and adjusting to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“Overall, we got better and learned from the game. If the kids continue to battle like they did we will be successful against any team we play.”
Covenant held a narrow 21-19 lead at halftime, but opened the second half with a pair of three-point plays by Hines and Elijah Smith. Lyles gave the team its largest lead – 31-21 – with a 3-pointer midway through the period.
Boyd cut into the lead late in the third, but Netherton stepped up a with a late baseline jumper to give his team a 33-25 lead entering the final period.
Cain Buckner helped spark the Broncos in the fourth. After a slow start to the final quarter, Buckner electrified the Boyd bench when he tomahawked a Covenant shot in the paint out of bounds. A minute later, Buckner drained a 3-pointer to cut the Covenant lead to five at 33-28.
A late technical on Covenant also helped the Boyd rally.
During a scramble for a loose ball on the floor, referees ruled a Covenant player shoved Bronco Dallas Greene following the scrum. Brock, who scored 10 points for Boyd, calmly sank both free throws.
Lyles helped Covenant respond with his second 3-pointer seconds later, but from there Boyd took control, finally taking its first second-half lead on Hoover’s dagger triple.
The late shot was part of six-point night for Hoover. Rogers finished with nine for Boyd, followed by Stiles with four and Buckner with three.
Rounding out the scoring for Covenant was Lyles with six, Hillis with four, Smith with three and Smit Patel and DJ Moore tallying two points apiece.