BY JON REITER
Providence senior forward George Knott was one of the Pioneers’ integral pieces in the squad’s run to the 2A semistate last season.
The fact that his game has improved since then should put a considerable amount of fear in Providence’s opponents going forward.
“The thing about Knott is, he’s a good shooter from 15 feet out,” said Clarksville coach Jason Connell, whose squad had 26 points dropped on them by Knott last night in a 60-51 loss in the City Championship at the Robert L. Larkin Center. “But you can’t just let him do what he wants. You have to get in front of him. He’s a strong kid, and I think he had his way with us for a while tonight.”
As Connell noted, Knott, who earned game MVP honors for Class 2A No. 4 Providence (9-0) on Friday, scored in an impressive array of shotmaking, hitting jumpers and put-backs over Clarksville defenders and going 4 of 4 from the free throw line.
“We knew we’d have a height advantage over them, so either me or [Ryan] Pickerell or Dalton [Duley] would have to take advantage of that,” the 6-foot-4 Knott said. “We had to use that to get some points, and it just happened to be me tonight.”
Much as in Providence’s 38-36 win over the 2A No. 6 Generals (6-3) in the Silver Creek Holiday Tournament Championship Saturday night, the Pioneers looked poised to bury the Generals at the outset.
Providence opened the contest on a 10-0 run over the first 3 minutes and 8 seconds, with guard Nano Granz and Knott notching two baskets apiece during the run and center Ryan Pickerell adding a lay-in.
But back-to-back 3-pointers from Calvin McEwen and Austin Johnson immediately slowed the Providence momentum and narrowed the margin to 10-6 with 2:33 remaining in the first quarter. The Pioneers led after one frame, 14-8.
It was 19-8 after the Pioneers opened the second quarter with a 2-point basket from Grantz and a trey by Dalton Duley on the first two Providence possessions. But Clarksville guard Andrew Jones, who scored eight of his 10 first-half points in the second quarter, kept the visitors close, nailing a three-pointer with a minute left that made the score 27-20 Clarksville heading into halftime.
A 12-footer from Knott made the score 33-22 with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter, but Clarksville came to within 6 at 35-29 after Jones nailed a three-pointer with a minute remaining.
The Generals had a chance to draw even closer but a turnover resulted in another basket by Knott with two seconds remaining in the quarter.
Providence opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 45-29 lead with 4:08 remaining in the game, and despite Clarksville’s best efforts to extend the game by putting the Pioneers on the line via foul shots, the hosts cruised to the win.
Pioneer coach Lou Lefevre said his squad’s undefeated mark and two wins over a quality opponent like the Generals is good, but hopes his troops can keep some perspective.
“Having a good record can be fool’s gold,” Lefevre said. “It’s hard to get these guys to think that there are things they need to improve on. We did some things good tonight, but we also did some things poorly. A good record — people want to complement you because it looks nice, but if it’s holding you back then it’s not such a wonderful thing.”
Jones led Clarksville with 22 points and took home MVP honors for the Generals.
Clarksville travels to New Washington tonight to face the Mustangs, while the Pioneers host Madison Shawe.
GIRLS’ CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
The matchup between the Lady Generals (3-11) and Pioneers (8-5) was tight early in the first half, but the Pioneers outscored the visitors 29-5 in the second half to coast to a 30-point victory, 45-15.
Meredith Endris, who led all scorers with 16 points, was named most valuable player for Providence in the contest. Nichole Tucker added 12 for the Pioneers.
Providence coach Brad Burden’s squad suddenly has an impressive 8-5 record and is looking to be in good shape to finish with the first winning record for the program since the 2002-03 season.
“We played Clarksville right before Christmas, and at that point, we really had to squeak one out,” Burden said. “I was really proud of how our kids executed the game play and stuck to it, particularly on the defensive end.”
Providence, at one point, held the Generals without a field goal for nearly 12 minutes in the second half and forced Clarksville into nine turnovers during that time. Tucker and Endres combined to go 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half.
“They are streaky shooters and can really shoot the ball,” Burden said.
Haley Jenkins, who finished with five points, was named Clarksville’s MVP.
The Pioneers host New Washington Tuesday. Clarksville hosts Salem the same night.
PROVIDENCE 60, CLARKSVILLE 55
Providence 14 13 10 23—60
Clarksville 8 12 9 22—55
Clarksville (6-3): Calvin McEwen 12, Austin Johnson 6, Aidan McEwen 4, Marquise Parrish 2, Jermargio Smith 2, Andrew Jones 22, Bailey McEwen 0, D.J. Coleman 3.
Providence (9-0): Ryan Pickerell 9, Dalton Duley 12, George Knott 26, Cory Cahalan 5, Nano Granz 6, Grant Goad 0, Ben Shahourdi 0, Nick Hayes 2, Brad Koerner 0.
Rebounds: Clarksville 20 (A. McEwen 6); Providence 28 (Knott, Duley 7)
3-point goals: Clarksville 7 (C. McEwen 2, Jones 2, Johnson 2, Coleman); Providence 1 (Duley).
Turnovers: Clarksville 10, Providence 12.
Free throws: Clarksville 7-8, Providence 19-25
MVP: Knott (P); Jones (C).
PROVIDENCE 45, CLARKSVILLE 15
Clarksville 2 8 2 3—15
Providence 8 8 11 18—45
Clarksville (3-11): Courtney Holmes 0, Abigail Hurtgen 5, Amber Grier 0, Miranda Thierman 0, Hayley Jenkins 5, Gabby Evans 5, Bailey Sharp 0.
Providence (8-5): Sara Gryboski 0, Abby Hunt 0, Meredith Endris 15, Kacie Pace 2, Claire Shannon 0, Nichole Tucker 12, Elizabeth Aubrey 2, Taylor Smallwood 4, Marlee Karem 5.
MVP: Endris (P); Jenkins (C).