By JON REITER
CLARKSVILLE — Ben Shahroudi scored 12 of his game-high 15 points in the decisive fourth quarter as No. 6 2A Providence eased away from visiting Charlestown to capture a 34-25 victory at the Robert I. Larkin Center last night.
For most of the contest, however, coach Lou Lefevre said Shahroudi, who scored a career-high 23 points against Austin in a win on Wednesday night, wasn’t playing up to his potential.
“Defensively, Ben can be a terrific player, but sometimes, like a lot of our players, he gets a little lazy and doesn’t do his best. A couple times during the game I asked him, ‘Are you tired?’ and he’d say no,” Levevre said. “When he gives his best, he’s terrific, and that’s what you want from a senior.”
For most of the contest, the Pirates (1-4) hung tough with the Pioneers, but in the fourth quarter, Providence forced Charlestown into eight turnovers, something that frustrated coach Sean Smith.
“I think both teams played pretty doggone good defense,” said Smith, whose squad forced Providence into 16 turnovers of their own in the contest. “Our offense in the fourth quarter. ... It was their best offense. Too many turnovers. We panicked. They turned up the pressure, and we played scared all through the fourth quarter.”
Charlestown jetted out to a 6-1 lead with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter after forward Hunter Crace hit a short jumper.
After a 3-point play by Pioneer guard Ben Shahroudi and baseline jumper from forward Brad Koerner off a steal,
Providence tied up the game at 6-6 wtih 4:31 remaining. The lead would change several times throughout the remainder of the quarter, although Ramirez rattled home a 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer that gave Charlestown a 13-11 lead.
Ramirez’s trey stung, in particular, because Providence blew a scoring chance late in the quarter when guard Grant Goad missed a breakaway dunk attempt with seconds left. Off the rebound, Daniel Schuler was fouled but missed both free throw attempts, and that led to the buzzer-beater.
There was a lot of defense and very little offense in the second frame. Providence guard Juston Betz nailed a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the second quarter to allow the Pioneers to retake the lead. The lead would change three more times, with Charlestown guard Darren Taylor giving the Pirates the advantage with a short jumper in the lane with two minutes remaining in the half.
Charlestown led 17-16 at the half.
It was 21-all headed into the fourth quarter, and following a short jumper from forward Tanner Wesp, the Pirates took their final lead of the contest with seven minutes remaining in the game.
After that point, Providence’s help defense began producing steals and scoring opportunities. The Pioneers went on a 13-0 run with the clinching score from Shahroudi coming off a steal withi 1:18 remaining. Shahroudi’s 3-point play gave Providence a 32-23.
“We looked very, very good in the fourth quarter, because we were going all out and really doing our best,” Lefevre said. “There’s not really much to say about what happened in the first half. Charlestown was doing whatever they wanted to us, and we weren’t playing our best.”
Wesp led Charlestown with 10 points, and Smith praised the sophomore’s aggression and overall play. But he said the Pirates missed an opportunity at the Larkin Center last night — something he hopes his squad learns from.
The Pirates, who has only one seniot who sees substantial playing time, will grown from the experience of taking the Pioneers to the limit, Smith said.
“We bailed out of our game plan and got scared,” he said. “That happens when you have a young team. We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to have to live and learn.”
Providence faces Floyd Central at home tonight. The Pirates are off until Friday night, when they’ll face off against tournament host Silver Creek in the opening round of the annual Silver Creek Holiday Tournament.
PROVIDENCE 34, CHARLESTOWN 25
Providence 11 5 5 13—34
Charlestown 13 4 4 4—25
Providence (4-0): Grant Goad 5, Juston Betz 3, Ben Shahroudi 15, Nick Hayes 2, Brad Koerner 2, Daniel Schuler 0, Brock Hayden 7, Tre Watson 0, Dawson Mitchell 0.
Charlestown (1-4): Zach Ramirez 3, Gage Martin 0, Tanner Wesp 10, Hunter Crace 2, Darren Taylor 2, Andrew Shaw 0, Jamal Long 2, Derek Walters 2, Tristan Chester 0.
Rebounds: Providence 22 (Hayes 7); Charlestown 21 (Pollock 6).
Free throws: Providence 13-23, Charlestown 0-2.
4-point field goals: Providence 3 (Goad, Betz, Hayden); Charlestown 1 (Ramirez).
Turnovers: Providence 16, Charlestown 17.