For the first time in school history, the Southwest Covenant boys basketball team had the opportunity to play the state basketball tournament.
The Patriots won six consecutive games to advance to the Class A state tournament and were matched up with the No. 1 team, Frontier in the quarterfinal round.
The Mustangs jumped on Southwest Covenant early, but the Patriots battled back and gave the state’s top team in Class A everything it wanted for four quarters. It wasn’t enough to get over the hump against the bigger, stronger opponent with Covenant falling 74-66 to Frontier.
The loss gave SWC a final record of 17-9 for the 2017-2018 season.
“We were fighting really hard all game,” Southwest Covenant coach Kevin Cobbs said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. We never quit. We could have said, ‘Well, made it to the state tournament and that is good enough.’ But we didn’t. We played our hearts out against the best team in the state. This team battled through adversity on and off the court all season. We kept the game in perspective. We understand that this is only a basketball game but they fought incredibly hard.”
Both teams came out swinging in the opening quarter. Frontier was on fire from the perimeter but Southwest Covenant started strong as well on the offensive end of the floor. The score after the first period was 21-17 Mustangs.
Frontier pulled away from the Patriots in the second quarter. The Mustangs outscored Covenant 22-11 in the frame and took a 15-point lead into halftime at 43-28.
The second half belonged to Southwest Covenant. The Patriots outscored the Mustangs 20-15 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 10 points at 58-48 going into the fourth period. In the final period, Covenant put up 18 points compared to Frontier’s 16 and made the difference single-digits against the heavily-favored Mustangs.
“The difference in the game was offensive rebounding,” Cobbs said. “They are bigger and stronger but they don’t have more heart. There is no one that has more heart in this state. Going to state was never on the radar at the beginning of the season. We just wanted to play our best basketball and we did that.”
Will Haas led the way for Southwest Covenant with 23 points. Kelly Young had 18 points. Sam Webb added nine points. Kirk Cole had five points. Tyler Kelly and Tim Kramer had four points and Bryce Brown added three points.