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December 25, 2013

H.S. BASKETBALL: Creek Holiday Tournament features best field in years

Generals, Dragons slight favorites

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Providence coach Lou Lefevre has an unbeaten, highly-ranked basketball team.

But ask him and he clearly has the third-best team at this weekend’s Silver Creek Holiday Tournament.

“Silver Creek and Clarksville are both terrific teams,” Lefevre said. “Those teams are clearly a step above the other two teams. We may have a comparable record, but anyone who says Silver Creek and Clarksville aren’t the favorites is lying to you. It doesn’t mean we can’t win.”

The Class 2A No. 6 Pioneers open with crosstown rival and No. 7 Clarksville. The 5-1 Generals are coming off an impressive three days in which they beat Jeffersonville by 18 points and played one of the best teams in the state, Bowman Academy, to within three points.

“Clarksville is a very, very good team. They have two of the best guards in the area,” Lefevre said of Calvin McEwen and Andrew Jones. “They’re absolutely terrific high school guards. With nobody else, they’d be a good team, but they have some other nice players in [D.J.] Coleman and [Marquise] Parrish — and some others. That’s a tough Game for us.

“We may have to play Clarksville three times, so we better figure out how to compete with them. Anything wonderful we want to achieve this year will probably have to go through [Clarksville].”

Following Saturday’s win over Jeff and Monday’s loss to Bowman Academy, Clarksville coach Jason Connell said he couldn’t even think about Providence yet.

“We’re beat,” he said. “We’ve got a prize to play for, but we’re beat up a little bit, so we’re going to take a few days off and not think about basketball and try to regroup.”

In the other semifinal, Silver Creek (4-1) faces Charlestown (1-4). The host Dragons beat the Pirates 60-32 on Nov. 30 and should have a fairly easy route into Saturday’s title Game.

“In some ways it will be a challenge for us,” Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. “We’ve beaten Charlestown before, but if we think we can just roll the ball out on the court and play, we may have a different result.”

With Clarksville and Providence dueling in the other semifinal and the tourney being played in Sellersburg, Silver Creek may have an advantage in Saturday’s Championship, if it gets there.

“Playing at home is always an advantage for a lot of reasons,” Lefevre said. “But Clarksville is really experienced and very good. I don’t think the little bit of an advantage you get from a homecourt would make them a prohibitive favorite.”

“It’s the holiday tournament, anything can happen,” Connell said. “We all know each other so well, all four teams. I don’t think anyone’s a clear favorite.”

“I think we have as good a chance as anybody,” Hoffman said. “’We’ve got three goals this year — to win the conference and the holiday tournament and the sectional. With the history of the tournament, it is something special to us.”

The Dragons haven’t won the tourney title in four years as Hoffman as head coach. He did win it four times as a player, but he is anxious to return the trophy to the Dragons.

“It wouldn’t be anything for me,” he said. “I’d like to see the players cut down the nets at our place. I want that for these players. That would be special.”

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