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January 4, 2013

H.S. BASKETBALL: Providence boys, girls sweep Clarksville

City MVP Knott leads No. 4 Pioneer boys to 60-51 victory

CLARKSVILLE — 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.

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