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Clark County Sports

January 23, 2014

TEN TO WATCH: Pioneers clinch first winning season in more than a decade

Next step for Providence is to become a championship program

CLARKSVILLE —  It’s taken Brad Burden six years to get the Providence program to this point.

On Wednesday, the Pioneers beat Rock Creek Academy 56-12 to improve to 12-5 and clinch the program’s first winning season since 2002-03.

Considering where the Pioneers were when Burden took over, it’s an impressive feat. Prior to taking the job at Providence, the Pioneers had won eight games in three years. They have built up their win total every year under Burden, including last year’s 11-11 campaign.

“We’ve been building toward this,” Burden said. “We’re excited for the school and for the kids. Everyone has bought into the vision. We’re certainly not where we want to be, but I like the direction we’re going.”

Providence has gone from a one-win season in 2005-06 to 12 wins with five games still remaining this season. Becoming a winning program took a lot of work.

Becoming a championship program is the next step.

“I don’t know if we’re there yet,” Burden admitted. “Obviously, we won’t know we’re there until we accomplish that. I think our sectional is wide-open. We think we’re one of the teams that could win it. To become champions, you just have to put together enough win. The first step is to learn how to win.”

Providence has gotten to this point despite its youth. The Pioneers rely on almost all underclassmen, including a group of five freshmen who provide Burden will his most talented class yet.

“Being such a young group, we have gone through some growing pains,” he said. “They’ve handled it so well for how many young kids we’re playing.”

The Pioneers still have five games left before heading into the postseason. It’s a difficult stretch that includes Austin, Crawford County, Floyd Central, Lanesville and Jeffersonville.

“We have a tough stretch,” Burden said. “We’ve told the girls that the losses down the stretch won’t kills us, but the wins can boost us. We’re going to continue to look at it as one game at a time.”

Up first is an 8-8 Austin on Saturday. The Eagles should give the Pioneers a better idea of where they stand heading into the tournament.

“Austin’s a tough game,” Burden said. “I think they’re the favorite to come out of [Class 2A Sectional 45], so it will be a big gauge of where we’re at.”

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

GIRLS — JEFFERSONVILLE (11-5, 2-2 HHC) AT NEW ALBANY (6-9, 2-3 HHC)

• DAY/TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

• RADIO: WNDA-1570 AM.

• SERIES ALL-TIME: Jeffersonville 39-32.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Jeffersonville 10-4.

• LAST YEAR: New Albany 55, at Jeffersonville 43.

• REASON TO WATCH: Well, first and foremost, it’s Jeff-New Albany. More than that, though, these two teams are better than expected coming into the season and both have improved a bunch during the year. Mike Warren was an assistant coach for the New Albany boys for almost a decade and is proving to be a top-notch coach in his first season on the Jeff sidelines. Coach Tammy Geron may be having her best season on the New Albany sideline, as well.

• ANALYSIS: This one could go either way. I like the way New Albany has been playing of late. The win at Columbus East last week was an eyebrow raiser.

• THE PICK: New Albany 57-54.

 

TONIGHT

BOYS — BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (9-1, 3-0 MSC) AT SILVER CREEK (6-3, 3-0 MSC)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RANKINGS: Brownstown Central — Class 3A No. 7 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Brownstown Central 9-3 (Brownstown has won four of last five meetings).

• LAST YEAR: At Brownstown Central 39, Silver Creek 23 (regular season); Brownstown Central 49, Silver Creek 37 (sectional).

• REASON TO WATCH: This is a make-up game from last Friday and is still a matchup of two of the four unbeaten Mid-Southern Conference teams.

• ANALYSIS: It’s tough to pick against Brownstown, which has knocked the Dragons out of the postseason each of the past two seasons, even on the road.

• THE PICK: Brownstown Central 68, Silver Creek 60.

 

GIRLS — HENRYVILLE (9-7, 4-0 SAC) AT BORDEN (11-2, 3-0 SAC)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RANKINGS: Borden — Class A No. 11 ICGSA.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Borden 11-6.

• LAST YEAR: Borden 36, at Henryville 33.

• REASON TO WATCH: The Southern Athletic Conference title is on the line. Henryville wins it with a victory. Borden clinches at least a tie and will likely win it at South Central on Saturday, Feb. 1.

• ANALYSIS: Henryville just isn’t playing like it was early in the year. Going into Borden and winning would take a top-flight effort.

• THE PICK: Borden 54, Henryville 44.

 

FRIDAY

BOYS — NEW ALBANY (8-2) AT SILVER CREEK (6-3)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RADIO: WFIA-94.7 FM, WNAS-88.1 FM.

• RANKINGS: New Albany — Class 4A No. 15 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: New Albany 10-0 (New Albany has won 15 straight in the series).

• LAST YEAR: At New Albany 60, Silver Creek 37.

• REASON TO WATCH: It’s two of the best teams in Southern Indiana. The Bulldogs have won three straight and six of their last seven. The Dragons are off to their best start since 2009-2010.

• ANALYSIS: New Albany is playing very well and is probably too deep and talented for Creek.

• THE PICK: New Albany 70, Silver Creek 53.

 

BOYS — CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (8-3) AT BORDEN (10-1)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RANKINGS: Borden — Class A No. 2 AP; Christian Academy — Class A No. 14 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Borden 11-0 (Borden has won 12 straight in the series).

• LAST YEAR: Borden 54, at Christian Academy 44.

• REASON TO WATCH: While Borden is still clearly the favorite in Class A Sectional 62, both should be considered championship contenders along with Lanesville and Rock Creek Academy.

• ANALYSIS: Borden is for real. A state championship contender again? Probably not. Of course, that’s what most outside of Borden thought last year.

• THE PICK: Borden 63, Christian Academy 55.

 

SATURDAY

BOYS — BORDEN (10-1, 4-0 SAC) AT HENRYVILLE (2-9, 0-2 SAC)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RANKINGS: Borden — Class A No. 2 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Borden 8-3.

• LAST YEAR: At Borden 64, Henryville 40.

• REASON TO WATCH: Borden will clinch another Southern Athletic Conference title with a road win.

• ANALYSIS: The Braves will roll to their fourth straight SAC crown.

• THE PICK: Borden 69, Henryville 35.

 

BOYS — COLUMBUS EAST (7-2, 2-1 HHC) AT JEFFERSONVILLE (7-5, 2-2 HHC)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RADIO: WNDA-1570 AM.

• SERIES ALL-TIME: Jeffersonville 25-8.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Jeff 7-3 (Jeff has won last five meetings).

• LAST YEAR: Jeffersonville 83, at Columbus East 79 (OT).

• REASON TO WATCH: Jeffersonville is out of the Hoosier Hills race, but it can still play a role. A victory over East would give rival New Albany the league crown. That may not sit well with the Devils, but they need a big win at this point in the season.

• ANALYSIS: The Red Devils have had time to recover from the season-long loss of Myles Harvey and they have plenty of weapons. I’ll take Jeff in a home-court win.

• THE PICK: Jeffersonville 78, Columbus East 73.

 

GIRLS — AUSTIN (8-8) AT PROVIDENCE (12-5)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RANKINGS: Providence — Class 2A No. 16 ICGSA; Austin — Class 2A No. 17 ICGSA

• LAST 10 YEARS: Austin 14-1.

• LAST YEAR: At Austin 51, Providence 27.

• REASON TO WATCH: Now, that the Pioneers have accomplished their immediate goal of having a winning season, they can earn arguably their best win of the year against the Eagles.

• ANALYSIS: Austin isn’t the same Austin it has been the past few years, but the Eagles are still quite formidable.

• THE PICK: Austin 53, Providence 47.

 

TUESDAY

BOYS — SILVER CREEK (6-3) AT PROVIDENCE (7-3)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RADIO: WFIA-94.7 FM.

• RANKINGS: Providence — Class 2A No. 10 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Providence 14-3.

• LAST YEAR: At Silver Creek 37, Providence 32.

• REASON TO WATCH: The two teams avoided each other in the Silver Creek Holiday Tournament, so this is a rare year when the teams will only meet once. Both teams are young, talented and solid — probably a year away from being serious contenders.

• ANALYSIS: In a toss-up, I’ll take the home team, especially if that team is well-coached.

• THE PICK: Providence 40, Silver Creek 37.

 

BOYS — EVANSVILLE HARRISON (7-6) AT NEW ALBANY (8-2)

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• RADIO: WXVW-1450 AM, WNAS-88.1 FM.

• RANKINGS: New Albany — Class 4A No. 15 AP.

• LAST 10 YEARS: Tied, 5-5 (Harrison has won three straight).

• LAST YEAR: At Harrison 66, New Albany 62.

• REASON TO WATCH: After opening the season ranked second in the state, Harrison has been disappointing so far in 2013-14. But make no mistake, the Warriors are talented. This also is a potential regional preview.

• ANALYSIS: New Albany is 5-0 at home so far. It’ll take one of the state’s best teams to win at The Doghouse, and Harrison isn’t proven yet that it is.

• THE PICK: New Albany 71, Harrison 64.

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