News and Tribune

December 19, 2013

TEN TO WATCH: Providence to face tough weekend challenge

Clarksville hosts Jeff in the Game of the Week

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Providence got serious challenges from its last two opponents, including an overtime win at Austin on Tuesday.

The Pioneers will get two more over the weekend. On Friday, they face rival Charlestown. On Saturday, they play an even bigger rival in Floyd Central.

Despite losing five starters, the Pioneers are 3-0 heading into their biggest weekend of the season so far. Providence has six seniors who were reserves or junior varsity players a year ago. Their contributions — along with some talented freshmen — have made the transition as seamless as possible.

“I think so far this season we’ve improved each game,” said Providence senior Ben Shahroudi, who had 23 points in Tuesday’s win. “It’s a totally different role than we had last year. We’ve been so used to coming off the bench. Now it’s about getting everybody playing their best from start to finish.”

“It’s going to be a challenge all year long,” Providence coach Lou Lefevre said. “At some point, our weaknesses are going to be fully exposed. That’s usually a critical point for any team. The teams we’re playing this weekend will show us what we need to fix. It’s hard, when you’re winning, to get your kids to bear down.”

There’s little doubt that the Pioneers will get their biggest challenge of the year on Saturday when they host Floyd Central. The Pioneers know that the Highlanders are better than their record and Lefevre says the Highlanders are “no question” the best team Providence has faced yet.

“It’s definitely going to be exciting to come out against Floyd Central at home,” Shahroudi said. “It will be exciting to see how our team matches up.”

Of course, first they’ll have to take on another rival in Charlestown. Similarly to Providence, the Pirates lost nearly everyone from last year’s team. However, Charlestown has struggled through a 1-3 start.

“Every single year we deal with the same thing,” Lefevre said. “They’re both rivals but Floyd Central is probably a bigger deal. If you have the right attitude, you have to say, ‘Hey, we’re out for this game on Friday.’ You worry about Saturday’s game after Friday. If the kids aren’t strong-minded, then sure, they’ll come out and not play well. Charlestown lost a lot of good players, but so did we. There’s not a lot of difference in our scenarios.”

“We’re getting prepared right now for them,” Shahroudi said. “We can’t overlook any team at this point. We haven’t proved anything yet. We’re going to take each game one at a time.”



GAME OF THE WEEK

BOYS — JEFFERSONVILLE (2-0) AT CLARKSVILLE (4-0)


DAY/TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

RANKINGS: Jeffersonville — No. 13 IBCA, No. 9 AP; Clarksville — No. 7 AP.

SERIES ALL-TIME: Jeffersonville 41-7.

LAST 10 YEARS: Jeffersonville 1-0.

LAST YEAR: At Jeffersonville 77, Clarksville 59.

ANALYSIS: It’s two unbeaten teams and possibly the best two teams in Clark County (Borden, Providence and Silver Creek may have something to say about that). Both teams are backcourt-dominated. Jeff’s probably a little more skilled, but Calvin McEwen handles the ball so well, the Generals may have a chance. The homecourt advantage won’t hurt, either.

THE PICK: Jeffersonville 68, Clarksville 64.



THURSDAY

GIRLS — CORYDON CENTRAL (5-3) AT JEFFERSONVILLE (6-2)


TIME: 7:30 p.m.

SERIES ALL-TIME: Jeffersonville 19-7.

LAST 10 YEARS: Jeffersonville 8-2 (Jeff has won seven of the last eight).

LAST YEAR: At Corydon Central 50, Jeffersonville 37.

ANALYSIS: Under Mike Warren, the Red Devils have been very impressive, including an upset of Kentucky No. 2 Sacred Heart Academy last week. The Panthers are another test. The Devils will have to slow Marie Rothrock to improve to 7-2 and equal last year’s win total for the entire season before the New Year.

THE PICK: Jeffersonville 66, Corydon Central 55.



GIRLS — NEW WASHINGTON (5-3) AT EASTERN (5-2)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

RANKINGS: Eastern — Class 2A No. 13 ICGSA.

LAST 10 YEARS: Eastern 6-4.

LAST YEAR: At New Washington 68, Eastern 45.

ANALYSIS: These could be two sectional contenders by the end of the year, although both will have to play better than they have early in the season. It promises to be a great game and it will be a building-block win for the victor.

THE PICK: New Washington 49, Eastern 46.



FRIDAY

BOYS — CHARLESTOWN (1-2) AT PROVIDENCE (2-0)


TIME: 7:30 p.m.

RANKINGS: Providence — Class 2A No. 6 AP.

LAST 10 YEARS: Providence 51, at Charlestown 29 (regular season); Providence 46, Charlestown 38 (Silver Creek Holiday Tournament).

LAST YEAR: Providence 15-4 (Providence has won five straight).

ANALYSIS: Over the past few years, this has become quite a rivalry with both teams having its share of success. This year both teams are inexperienced, but the Pioneers seem to be quite a bit further along than the Pirates.

THE PICK: Providence 48, Charlestown 30.



BOYS — SILVER CREEK (3-0) AT JEFFERSONVILLE (2-0)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

RADIO: WGTK-970 AM.

RANKINGS: Jeffersonville — No. 13 IBCA, No. 9 AP.

SERIES ALL-TIME: Jeffersonville 70-11.

LAST 10 YEARS: Jeffersonville 9-1 (Jeff has won four straight and 19 of the last 20).

LAST YEAR: Jeffersonville 70, at Silver Creek 50.

ANALYSIS: Jeff is 25-0 against Silver Creek at Johnson Arena. That trend should continue, but this is the best Dragon team in a few years so they certainly have a chance to end the streak. Both teams will be unbeaten heading into the showdown.

THE PICK: Jeffersonville 71, Silver Creek 62.



BOYS — SEYMOUR (0-3, 0-1 HHC) AT NEW ALBANY (2-1, 1-0 HHC)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

LAST 10 YEARS: New Albany 14-1 (New Albany has won 12 in a row).

LAST YEAR: New Albany 69, at Seymour 26.

ANALYSIS: New Albany needs a bounceback game after a poor weekend. The Owls, although apparently better than last year, should help with that.

THE PICK: New Albany 78, Seymour 47.



SATURDAY

BOYS — WASHINGTON COUNTY INVITATIONAL, CHAMPIONSHIP

TIME/LOCATION: 7:30 p.m. at Salem

RANKINGS: Borden — Class A No. 2.

LAST 10 CHAMPIONS: 2012 — Borden; 2011 — Borden; 2010 — Eastern; 2009 — Eastern; 2008 — Salem; 2007 — Eastern; 2006 — West Washington; 2005 — Eastern; 2004 — Salem; 2003 — Eastern.

LAST YEAR (at Eastern): First round — West Washington 41, Salem 26; Borden 64, Eastern 49; Consolation — Eastern 56, Salem 38; Championship — Borden 55, West Washington 36.

ANALYSIS: This is Borden’s tournament to win for the third year in a row, although the Braves struggled to beat Eastern at home in their opener. The Borden-Eastern winner will inherit the mantle of favorite on Saturday night.

THE PICK: Borden 60, West Washington 43.



BOYS — FLOYD CENTRAL (0-3) AT PROVIDENCE (2-0)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

RADIO: WNDA-1570 AM.

RANKINGS: Providence — Class 2A No. 6 AP.

LAST 10 YEARS: Providence 6-4 (Providence has won two straight)

LAST YEAR: Providence 43, at Floyd Central 31.

ANALYSIS: Although the record doesn’t show it, Floyd Central is improving in front of Highlanders’ fans eyes. This could be a good opportunity to prove themselves on the road.

THE PICK: Floyd Central 51, Providence 50.



BOYS — NEW WASHINGTON (1-1) AT SILVER CREEK (3-0)

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

LAST 10 YEARS: Silver Creek 10-0 (Creek has won 11 in a row).

LAST YEAR: Silver Creek 65, at New Washington 49.

ANALYSIS: The Mustangs looked strong in their opener but took a step back in a turnover-filled conference road loss at Crothersville on Tuesday. That’s bound to happen with young, inexperienced teams. Which one will show up at Silver Creek will be interesting to see. The Dragons should win either way

THE PICK: Silver Creek 70, New Washington 53.



MONDAY

BOYS — CLAKSVILLE (4-0) VS. BOWMAN ACADEMY (4-0)

TIME/LOCATION: 6 p.m. at Indianapolis Marshall

RANKINGS: Clarksville — Class 2A No. 7 AP; Bowman Academy — No. 6 IBCA, Class 3A No. 2 AP.

LAST 10 YEARS: This is the first meeting between the two schools.

ANALYSIS: Bowman Academy is the defending Class 2A champions, a title the Generals covet. The Eagles forced 32 turnovers against a strong Lake Central team, so McEwen and the Generals better be ready for the pressure. A win by the Generals would let the state know they’re a true state championship contender.

THE PICK: Bowman Academy 71, Clarksville 58.