BY MIKE RILEY
When teams with records of 13-3 and 11-5 get together, one could only expect a knock-down, drag-out, down-to-the wire type battle that happens more often than not in Indiana High School Basketball.
Providence’s 55-31 win over South Central at the Larkin Center on Thursday was an exception. The Pioneers and Rebels both got off to slow, sloppy starts before the Pioneers pulled away for their 14th win.
“I don’t think either coach was pleased with the way his team played tonight,” said Providence coach Louis Lefevre. “I know that we didn’t do the things that we had hoped to do. Neiither coach will view this as a highlight game.”
Dalton Duley’s steal and layup late in the opening quarter gave the Pioneers a 9-1 lead as the visiting Rebels could hit only 1-of-9 shots and turned the ball over five times in the opening period.
Providence picked it up somewhat late in that first quarter as they went on to build a 30-9 halftime lead. Duley, who was 4-for-6 from 3-point range before halftime, had twice as many points (18) as the entire South Central team.
When play resumed in the second half, Providence had extended their lead to 36-12 at the 4:33 mark of third quarter when a fire alarms went off.
Play was halted and the gym evacuated for about twenty minutes before the all clear was given.
Eventually the lead would grow to as many as 29 points, 51-22.
“[South Central] had a lot of chances early, but they were turning the ball over,” Lefevre said, “We weren’t turning the ball over and, fortunately, we were able to pick it up.”
Providence also had big advantage on the glass as the Pioneers won the rebounding battle 31-16.
“We had two guys out tonight so it was important that our big guys stayed out of foul trouble,” Lefevre said. “We also got a lot of second and third shots, which is important.”
Duley and Ryan Pickerrell both had double-doubles for Providence as Duley finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Pickerrell had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“We played sloppy tonight. We have to play better defensively,” Pickerrell said. “Duley was hot tonight. It’s nice watching those shots go in. We have a lot of good shooters on this team.”
For the game, Providence hit 22-of-42 shots including 4-of-10 from 3-point range.
Lefevre did praise the play of junior reserve Nick Hayes.
“I don’t know how many points he had, but he played well inside and that’s important because of the guys we had out. Offensive rebounding is one of our strengths. It’s what we have to do.”
Kyle Pease led South Central with 12 points while Zack Goodwin added 11 points, but the Rebels finished with 20 turnovers.
Providence will host Rock Creek on Tuesday.