BY JON REITER
On Friday night, it was Clarksville guard Andrew Jones who stole the show with 31 points in a Silver Creek Holiday Tournament semifinal win over Providence.
In Saturday night’s championship matchup against tournament host Silver Creek, it was Jones’ running mate, Calvin McEwen, who hoisted the Class 2A No. 7 Generals on his back with as impressive a performance by a point guard that might be seen around here this season.
McEwen finished with 24 points, 17 of which came in the second half, and 11 assists in Clarksville’s 51-45 win over the Dragons, and hoisted the tournament MVP trophy as well as helping his teammates celebrate their second “bucket” trophy in the last three seasons.
“Both of these guys are great guards — they’re different, but they’re fantastic,” Clarksville coach Jason Connell said. “We got on him [McEwen on Friday night]. We said, ‘You have to attack the basket more.’ And he did that tonight. He was great.”
Jones chipped in with 17 points, with his final two coming off a feed following a long rebound that McEwen grabbed off a missed Silver Creek shot with a few seconds remaining in the contest. Jones and McEwen were joined by teammate D.J. Coleman on the all-tournament team.
In Saturday’s consolation game, Providence rebounded from Friday night’s semifinal loss to Clarksville with a 44-23 win over Charlestown.
The Dragons committed to the strategy of pounding the ball inside to their 6-foot-6 sophomore center, Christian Reed, and it paid off.
Reed notched 12 of his team’s 24 first-half points as the hosts led by three at halftime, 24-21.
Reed scored on Silver Creek’s first two offensive possessions and helped the Dragons to a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. He led all Silver Creek scorers with 18 points.
Maybe the biggest thing that emerged out of the weekend as far as the Dragons (5-2) are concerned is that he looks to be an impressive inside presence for years to come.
“He’s turning into a man, growing from a boy to a man,” Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. “He’s going to have a great career for us. He realizes that there’s not too many people who can stop me if I’m really aggressive. Going forward he’s going to be a big weapon for us.”
But it was McEwen who took over the game in the third and fourth quarters.
McEwen’s 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Generals a 32-26 lead with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter. Another trey with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter gave the Generals a 35-32 lead, and Clarksville would not trail for the remainder of the contest, although the game remained tight.
Jones was quiet early, only scoring six points heading into the half and was held scoreless during the third quarter. But his 3-pointer gave Clarksville a 38-34 lead early in the fourth quarter, and he added eight additional points throughout the fourth frame, including 4-of-4 free-throw shooting as the Generals held onto the lead.
With 20.7 seconds left in regulation, a layup by Silver Creek’s Nick Tinsley narrowed the Clarksville lead to 47-45, but McEwen was fouled on the Generals’ next possession. The senior guard coolly sunk the two free-throws with 15 seconds remaining, and Silver Creek couldn’t mount enough offense to narrow the gap any further.
As he held his MVP trophy after the contest, McEwen talked about what the tournament championship meant to him and the Generals going forward.
“The great thing about our team is that we do have so many weapons. It can be Andrew one night, it can be me one night, next night it can be D.J. [Coleman],” he said. “Tonight it was me because one thing we felt they wouldn’t be able to stop is our penetration to the basket, and with the help of my teammates I was able to get that done.”
While he was disappointed by the loss, Hoffman said he wasn’t discouraged necessarily with his team’s play.
“It was the type of game between two really good teams where literally one bounce goes our way and we could have won it,” he said.
Reed and teammate Zach Davidson were named to the all-tournament team.
Clarksville will host Providence for the annual town championship on Friday, Jan. 10, while the Dragons will travel to Eastern the same night.
The Class 2A No. 6 Pioneers, who dropped a 49-46 decision to Clarksville in Friday’s semifinals, jumped out to a 12-2 lead after guard Ben Shahroudi nailed a short jumper with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter.
Providence led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter. But the Pirates climbed back to within two at 14-12 after forward Hunter Crace found a cutting Darius Brown for an easy layup with 2:55 remaining in the first half.
It was 16-14 after Pirate forward Jamal Long hit a 16-footer on the baseline with a little more than a minute remaining.
But the Pioneers (6-1) scored the last five points of the half off two free throws from Shahroudi, and three points from guard Grant Goad, who got his own rebound off a missed free throw with 7.3 seconds left, scored and then converted another foul shot attempt.
“That was the sort of thing that really hurt us this weekend, just poor fundamentals,” said Charlestown coach Sean Smith. “Not blocking out off a free throw — we have to focus better than that.”
Brown nailed a short jumper to bring the margin to 21-16 seconds into the second half. But a 7-0 Pioneer run capped by two more free throws from Shahroudi made the score 28-16 with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, and Providence stretched the lead out even further throughout the fourth quarter.
Goad followed up a 14-point, 10-rebound performance on Friday night with 18 points and nine rebounds against Charlestown.
“He was aggressive, and when your good offensive players play more aggressive, that gives you a better chance for success,” Pioneer coach Lou Lefevre said.
The Pioneers did commit an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers.
“I think if people see the final score, they’ll think both teams played good defense. But we both were just really bad offensively,” Lefevre said. “We hit a few more shots than they did.”
The Pirates (1-6) struggled against the Pioneer defense, committing 25 turnovers.
Goad and Shahroudi were named to the all-tournament team, along with Charlestown’s Tanner Wesp.
The Pioneers are off until Tuesday, Jan. 7, when they will travel to Madison, while Charlestown will host Seymour on Jan. 10.
SILVER CREEK HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
CLARKSVILLE 51, SILVER CREEK 45
Silver Creek 14 10 10 11—45
Clarksville 7 14 14 16—51
Silver Creek: Nick Tinsley 7, Brooks Howell 0, Jake Steele 2, Gabe Bauer 9, Christian Reed 18, Zach Davidson 7, Sam Garr 0, Shae Durham 2.
Clarksville: Andrew Jones 17, Calvin McEwen 24, Marquise Parrish 2, D.J. Coleman 3, Aham Yennes 2, Evan Guenthner 3, Keigan Fetz 0, Nick Jones 0.
3-point field goals: Silver Creek 3 (Davidson, Tinsley, Bauer); Clarksville 7 (Jones 3, Coleman, McEwen 2, Guenthner).
Rebounds: Silver Creek 23 (Reed 8); Clarksville 17 (McEwen 5).
Free throws: Silver Creek 8-15, Clarksville 12-18.
Turnovers: Silver Creek 8, Clarksville 8.
PROVIDENCE 44, CHARLESTOWN 23
Providence 12 9 9 14—44
Charlestown 7 7 5 4—23
Providence (6-1): Ben Shahroudi 8, Grant Goad 18, Nick Hayes 9, Juston Betz 1, Brad Koerner 3, Brock Hayden 0, Dawson Mitchell 0, Daniel Schuler 2, Parker Graf 0, Tre’ Watson 0, Griffin Libs 2.
Charlestown (1-6): Tanner Wesp 0, Hunter Crace 6, Zach Ramirez 0, Darren Taylor 0, Darius Brown 5, Jacob Pollock 0, Walters 2, Jamal Long 5, Cardwell 0, Gage Martin 5.
3-point field goals: Providence 2 (Goad 2); Charlestown 0.
Rebounds: Providence 21 (Goad 9); Charlestown 18 (Long, Wesp 4).
Free throws: Providence 14-18, Charlestown 5-9.
Turnovers: Providence 19, Charlestown 25.