By JON REITER
CLARKSVILLE — It wasn't a work of art.
But it was a win, and after nearly two weeks off from game action due to snow-related cancellations, Providence boys' basketball coach Lou Lefevre will take the 52-45 victory his Pioneers had over visiting Scottsburg at the Robert L. Larkin Center on Saturday night.
"It was good for us. We needed the practice," Lefevre said of his 2-0 Pioneers, who had games against Austin and Madison postponed last weekend. "There was so much for us to go over — so many kids that had never played on this team before. They didn't like missing the games, but I think it helped us."
It appeared that Providence was going to blow Scottsburg out of the gymnasium at the outset. The Pioneer defense put the clamps on the Warriors, holding them to one field goal in the first quarter and without a shot attempt for nearly five minutes during the first frame as they compiled a 15-3 lead.
Scottsburg began whittling away at the Providence lead during the second quarter, and after a 3-pointer from Braxton Soloe, cut the advantage to 25-19 with just over a minute remaining in the first half.
On Providence's final possession of the first half, freshman Juston Betz nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Pioneers a 28-19 advantage at intermission.
"That was huge," Lefevre said. "We got up to a pretty big lead, and they came back, and that maybe took a little bit of their confidence away going into halftime."
That wouldn't be the only critical trey Betz hit. After 6-foot-4 Scottsburg forward Christian Barrett threw in a jump-hook in the lane with 2:39 remaining in the contest, the Warriors closed the gap to 42-39 — the slimmest margin Providence would lead by since the early going.
On the opposite end of the court, then, Betz coolly drained another 3-pointer to give the Pioneers a 45-39 lead with just under two minutes remaining. Barrett scored inside on Scottsburg's next possession to trim the lead to 45-41, but that would be the closest Scottsburg would get for the rest of the game.
The big bugaboo that faced the Pioneers all evening, aside from a pesky Warriors squad that used a full-court press to harass Providence throughout the second half, was free throw shooting.
Providence went to the foul line 47 times but only converted 22, something Lefevre expressed dismay over after the game.
"We're not great shooters right now," he said. "We look awkward. We're falling over the line, we're pulling back our hand without a follow-through. We looked awful up there. Sometimes. just by luck, you make more than you miss at the free throw line. Maybe we'll just have to try and bank a few in."
The play of Betz, who finished with 10 points, was a bright spot. Grant Goad led the Pioneers with 17 points and his senior backcourt mate Ben Shahroudi finished with 11. Senior center Nick Hayes finished with nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Scottsburg guard Cameron Schmidt led the Warriors with 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Barrett added 14 points.
The Pioneers are in action next on Friday night when they host Charlestown.
PROVIDENCE 52, SCOTTSBURG 45
Scottsburg 3 16 12 11—45
Providence 15 13 10 14—52
Providence (2-0): Grant Goad 17, Juston Betz 10, Ben Shahroudi 11, Nick Hayes 9, Brad Koerner 2, Brock Hayden 3, Daniel Schuler 0, Dawson Mitchell 0, Tre' Watson 0, Alex Judd 0.
Scottsburg (2-2): Brandon Boswell 2, Cameron Schmidt 15, Christian Evans 0, Kirk Hardin 0, Christian Barrett 14, Mitchell Meagher 2, Seth Helton 7, Brandon Soloe 5.
3-point field goals: Providence 4 (Betz 3, Hayden); Scottsburg 1 (Braxton Soloe).
Rebounds: Providence 29 (Hayes 7, Goad 7); Scottsburg 25 (Barrett 8).
Free throws: Providence 22-47, Scottsburg 13-19.
Turnovers: Providence 10, Scottsburg 16.