BY MIKE RILEY
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.”
Silver Creek, which entered the tournament hoping for their fourth consecutive title, was never threatened in a 51-33 victory over Clarksville in Saturday’s consolation game.
Silver Creek dominated play on the inside, led by junior center Kelsi Scott, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. Silver Creek scored the game’s first 10 points and led 17-2 after a quarter.
The Dragons knew they were in for a battle after watching the Generals almost pull out a victory over Providence on Friday.
“We knew that we would have to show up ready to play and tonight we did,” Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen said. “When Kelsi stays on the floor, we’re a different team. And Bailee [Popp] is really coming on. She’s picked it up on offense quickly. I told her she needs to pick up the defense just as quick.”
Haley Jenkins led Clarksville with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Clarksville coach B.D.Ledbetter’s voice was hoarse at the start of the game. It was gone by game’s end.
“We didn’t turn it over tonight but we had no defensive intensity at all,” said assistant coach Antonio Grubbs. “It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together. It’s all about consistency.”
Clarksville will host Crawford County on Jan. 7, while the Dragons go to Borden on Jan. 9.
CHARLESTOWN HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
CHARLESTOWN 53, PROVIDENCE 34
Charlesstown 18 16 11 8—53
Providence 11 16 1 6—34
Charlestown (8-2): Kaitlynn Henning 22, Shelby Goedeker 8, Jessica Farmer 2, Megan Brooks 9, Justice Burdin 9, Lexi Logsdon 0, Kim Knight 0, Lauren Crowe 3, Bethany Hall 0, Alysha Flaget 0, Leah Sherrill 0
Providence (10-3): Abby Hunt 0, Michaela Hoke 5, Bayley Wade 2, Taylor Smallwood 3, Claire Rauck 19, Lillian Hughes 2, Olivia Jenkins 1, Cheyenne Brooks 2, Miokaila Heavrin 0, Elizabeth Aubrey 0, Sara Gryboski 0, Mia Fougerousse 0.
3-point field goals: Charlestown 4 (Henning 2, Goedeker, Crowe); Providence 4 (Rauck 3, Hoke).
Rebounds: Charlestown 46 (Burdin 18); Providence 22 (Hoke 7).
Turnovers: Charlestown 17, Providence 10.
Free Throws: Charlestown 11-18, Providence 16-25.
SILVER CREEK 51, CLARKSVILLE 33
Silver Creek 17 15 13 6—51
Clarksville 2 12 22 11—33
Silver Creek (3-9): Haley Baxter 4, Lauren Cunliffe 3, Bailee Popp 8, Alexis Barnett 4, Kelsi Scott 20, Tori Martin 8, Lauren Polston 0, Casie Toby 0, Morgan Knies 0, Whitny Booher 0, Shelby Shultz 2, Hanna Meriwether 2.
Clarksville (3-9): Meranda Thierman 0, Morgan Eversole 2, Haley Jenkins 20, Gabby Evans 8, Bailey Sharp 0, Abigail Hurtgen 2, Amber Grier 0, Jessica Givings 1, Dee Baker 0.
3-point field goals: Silver Creek 3 (Martin 2, Cunliffe); Clarksville 0.
Rebounds: Silver Creek 26 (Scott 9, Popp 9); Clarksville 28 (Jenkins 13).
Turnovers: Silver Creek 14, Clarksville 17.
Free Throws: Silver Creek 4-7, Clarksville 5-12
Justice Burdin, Charlestown (MVP)
Kaitlynn Henning, Charlestown
Shelby Goedeker, Charlestown
Claire Rauck, Providence
Michaela Hoke, Providence
Kelsi Scott, Silver Creek
Bailee Popp, Silver Creek
Haley Jenkins, Clarksville