Favorites Charlestown and Providence won as expected (barely), setting up a solid matchup in the championship game of the Charlestown Holiday Tournament tonight at Charlestown Sports Arena.
Charlestown gained its second victory of the year over Silver Creek on Friday 42-23 in the semifinals, while Providence turned back Clarksville, 53-50. The Dragons and Generals will square off in tonight’s consolation game.
Charlestown (7-2) already owned a victory over Silver Creek, 48-37 in Sellersburg on Dec. 14.
This one got off to a much slower start as both teams were tied at six at the end of the first quarter.
Silver Creek (2-9) trailed only 24-19 entering the final period as both offenses struggled, before the Pirates’ defense picked up the pace in forcing the Dragons into 10 fourth quarter turnovers.
When Charlestown guard Kaitlyn Henning hit her first basket, a 3-pointer with around four minutes left in the game, that built the Pirates lead to 14 points and finally put them in control.
“I think it was a little bit both of struggling offense and good defense by both teams,” said Charlestown coach Mike Prichard. “We hit a couple of big baskets late and forced some turnovers.
“Everything goes back to our half-court defense,” he added. “It isn’t pretty, but it keeps us in the game.
Shelby Goedeker led the Pirates in scoring with 10 points. Henning and Justice Burdin combined for just 11 points, although Burdin did grab 12 rebounds.
“It’s great to have people step up when you need them”, Prichard said.
Bailee Popp led Silver Creek with 14 points, including all nine points by the Dragons in the first half.
Both teams will meet again on next Friday at Clarksville. Let’s hope that it can have the excitement level of this one.
On paper, it appeared to be one-sided. But pick your poison as Clarksville turned the ball over 34 times, while the Pioneers struggled at the free-throw line in making just 15-of-37.
Providence led 42-29 entering the final quarter and seemed to have things going its way, But Clarksville had other ideas.
It was 48-36 around the four-minute mark when Clarksville’s Bailey Sharp drilled a 3-pointer that jump-started the Generals who pulled to within 52-48 on a Haley Jenkins basket with 40 seconds left.
Gabby Evans made it a two-point game with 2-of-2 at the line, 52-50 with 12 seconds left. Abagail Hurtgen had a trey rim out with five seconds left. Clarksville (3-8) got the ball back, but could only manage a midcourt heave at the buzzer.
“They turned the ball over and we couldn’t make free throws,” said Providence coach Brad Burden. “But give them some credit, they made some big shots.
“Free-throw shooting has been a problem for us all year, although we do well in practice. Right now we’re 10-2, we could be 12-0.”
Freshman Claire Rauck led Providence with 27 points. Hurtgen and Jenkins each had 10 points for Clarksville, Jenkins also grabbed 15 rebounds.
So what do the coaches think about the championship game tonight?
“Both are good teams,” Prichard said. “Providence is more guard-oriented. I don’t think that we’ve seen anyone like that. And you wouldn’t know it by their record, but Clarksville has been playing well lately.”
“Charlestown is a great team,” Burden said. “Henning is a great guard and Burdin is great inside. If we can it some free throws and have some defensive intensity we have a chance.”