By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY —
The Providence girls’ basketball team had a solid first half and held on in the second half despite a letdown to defeat host Christian Academy on Thursday night, 57-45. The Pioneers extended their winning streak to four games.
The Pioneers concocted their up-tempo game from the outset to pull out to a 37-12 lead at halftime. They shot 14-of-30 from the field in the first 16 minutes despite committing 12 first-half turnovers.
“We kind of tweaked some things and did some things differently, and everything that we wanted to implement there worked well in the first half,” Providence head coach Brad Burden said.
The Warriors (3-8) struggled offensively in the opening half. In the first 16 minutes, they committed 19 turnovers and were 4-of-29 from the floor. Christian Academy missed several easy shots around the basket, which head coach Mike Baird said the Warriors needed to make to stay with the Pioneers (9-2).
“You can’t miss shots like that against a good team,” Baird said. “It doesn’t give us a chance to set our press up. It took us completely out of our game.”
The Warriors looked like a different team coming out of halftime. They outscored Providence 33-20 in the second half even though the furthest they cut the Pioneers’ lead was 11 points in the closing seconds of the game.
Junior guard Allison Burch led the CAI second-half effort with 14 of her game-high 21 points.
“It was all effort,” Baird said about the latter half. “I told them we have to outhustle them and get every loose ball, and they responded.”
Another thing the Warriors improved on in the second half was defending Providence freshman standout Claire Rauck. The 5-foot-8 forward, who ended up with 11 points, did not score in the final 16 minutes and attempted only four shots.
“I told them to find her every time down the floor,” Baird said. “I really didn’t say for one person to guard her. I just said, ‘Find 23 [Rauck] when she has the ball and make her pass it and make the other ones beat us.’”
Burden thought the Pioneers showed their youth a little bit in the second half. But he praised the Warriors for displaying some fight in the latter half.
“They have finals [today] and they wanted to get out of here,” Burden said about his players. “It’s Christmas break and they wanted to get that started. We’re going to give them off five or six days. I told them we can’t take anybody lightly.
“But to Christian Academy’s credit, everything went there way in the second half. Every shot went in and every free throw, and we missed a bunch in the second half. They caused that to happen. They made those shots and we didn’t rotate right.”
Freshman Olivia Jenkins was Providence’s top scorer with 12 points. Teammates Cheyenne Brooks and Michaela Hoke had 11 points each. Hoke and Rauck each grabbed eight rebounds. Rauck and teammate Taylor Smallwood each made four steals, while Hoke had three.
“Brad is a great coach and he’s always ready for every game,” Baird said. “I knew it was going to be a tough game. They are going to be good for a long time.”
Christian Academy sophomore center Brittany Moffett pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds and scored eight points.
Providence will face Clarksville in the Charlestown Holiday Tournament semifinals on Friday, Jan. 3. Christian Academy will host South Central tonight in the first game of a boy-girl doubleheader.
PROVIDENCE 57, CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 45
Providence 17 20 9 11—57
Christian Academy 6 6 14 19—45
Providence (9-2): Mikaila Heavrin 0, Abby Hunt 0, Cheyenne Brooks 11, Olivia Jenkins 12, Michaela Hoke 11, Bayley Wade 4, Elizabeth Aubrey 0, Taylor Smallwood 3, Claire Rauck 11, Mia Fougerousee 0, Lillian Hughes 4, Sara Gryboski 1.
Christian Academy (3-8): Danielle Summitt 5, Allison Burch 21, Sierra Rayzor 0, Brittany Moffett 8, Emily Huffaker 5, Hayleigh Caldwell 0, Cortney Baird 0, Kiersten Carruthers 2, Rachel Wright 2, Clara Koch 2.
3-point field goals: Providence 4 (Hoke 3, Rauck); Christian Academy 4 (Burch 3, Summitt).
Free throws: Providence 13-33, Christian Academy 11-16.