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January 5, 2014

H.S. GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Pirates win first Charlestown Holiday Tournament title since 2009

Dragons beat Clarksville 51-33 in consolation game

CHARLESTOWN — What was expected to be was a battle between two of the area’s better teams turned out to be half-a-battle in the championship game of the Charlestown Holiday Tournament on Saturday at the Charlestown Sports Arena.

After Providence came out following halftime as cold as the predicted weather forecast, it was Charlestown that won its 16th title and its first since 2009 with a 53-34 victory.

“How I feel right now, I don’t know,” said first-year Charlestown coach Mike Prichard. “I’m just happy for these girls. As a player, I never won a Holiday Tournament title, but I did win a sectional so I know somewhat what it feels like. It’s an awsome feeling.”

Charlestown held a 28-17 lead following a 3-pointer by reserve Lauren Crowe late in the second quarter.

Providence was determined not to fall any further behind as Pioneer freshman star Claire Rauck caught fire. Over the next couple of minutes, Rauck hit three treys — one a 4-point play — as Providence pulled to within 30-27.

Charlestown led 34-27 at halftime, but fans could draw their own conclusion as to which team had the momentum.

If it was Providence, it ended quickly. The Pioneers managed only one point in the third quarter and shot 1 of 18 from the floor in the second half.

Look at the box score. You’ll see that Kaitlynn Henning led Charlestown with 22 points. You’ll also see that Justice Burdin, who named the tournament MVP, grabbed 18 rebounds to give her a total of 30 in two tournament games.

Who you may not notice is senior guard Jessica Farmer. Farmer scored two points. It was a basket that gave Charlestown an early 7-2 lead.

What you won’t see in the box score is the defensive job that Farmer did on Rauck in the second half. Rauck finished with 19 points. Fifteen of them came before halftime. After halftime, Rauck was 1 of 3 from the floor and 2 of 4 from the free throw line.

“Rauck is an unbelievable player and she is just a freshman,” Prichard said. “And it was an unbelievable job that Jessica did on her in the second half. She has really stepped up and shown some senior leardership. That really disrupted what Providence was trying to do.”

The two teams will meet again in the same arena on Jan.17.

No one else on either team finished in double-figures. Burdin and Megan Brooks each had nine for Charlestown.

“We came out in the second half and picked up the intensity,” Burdin said. “The last three years we’ve been close and had a one-point loss [to champion Silver Creek] last year. This feels great.”

“I told my team afterwards that I thought they did a good job,” Providence coach Brad Burden said. “Charlestown is a great team. Henning and Burdin have started since their freshman year. They’ve taken some lumps and they deserve the victory.”

The Pirates will host Rock Creek on Jan. 7 while Providence will travel to Clarksville for a Girls/Boys doubleheader on Jan 10.

“How good is this team?” Prichard said in response to the question. “I don’t know. I know they don’t quit. We have some tough games coming up with Jeffersonville and Brownstown, so we’ll see where we are.”

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