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January 10, 2013

GREG'S PICKS: Jeff, Providence potential Game of the Year

Class 2A No. 4 Pioneers sports 10-0 mark; Red Devils come in 9-2

CLARKSVILLE — At about the midway point of the regular season, it’s becoming clear that Jeffersonville and Providence are both headed for special seasons.

On Saturday at the Larkin Center, the 2012-13 campaign will become even more special for one of them.

Class 2A No. 4 Providence is 10-0 after back-to-back wins over rival and Class 2A No. 6 Clarksville. Jeff — ranked No. 13 in Class 4A — is 9-2 and has victories over then-3A No. 2 Evansville Bosse, defending 3A champion Guerin Catholic, Clarksville and a 70-46 pounding of rival New Albany last week. The Red Devils also nearly beat Kentucky No. 1 Louisville Ballard.

A couple of months from now, we could be talking about sectional and regional championships — and possible more — for the Red Devils and Pioneers.

For now, it’s a showdown at Providence on Saturday night. It’s size versus speed, experience versus raw talent. It’s Jeff superstar Darryl Baker against Providence’s taller, stronger front line.

The Devils will want to run. Providence will prefer to slow it down, beat Jeff in the halfcourt and take fast-break points when they’re available.

Jeff and Providence may be the area’s two best teams — and they may provide Southern Indiana with one of the best games of the year.

“Jeff’s the best team we’ve played so far,” Providence coach Lou Lefevre said. “They’re just really good.”

It’s hard to get compliments out of Lefevre about his own team. Even at 10-0 with some impressive wins, Lefevre has a laundry list of what he’d like to see improved.

However, this week he was willing to admit that his team has handled winning well.

“For a team that’s undefeated, they’re not copping an attitude that ‘We’re so awesome we don’t have to show up and we’re still going to win every time,’” Lefevre said. “They’re not doing that. That’s what a lot of teams do in that situation. I’m proud of them for that, for acting like a team that has to come to work every day.”

Upsetting Jeffersonville, which first has to play rival Floyd Central on Friday night, would surely be the Pioneers’ biggest accomplishment of the season. He knows it will be tough, but Lefevre isn’t discounting it.

“Last year, we were in the game with them in the end. I thought we played our worst game of the year and we were still in the game,” he said. “I just think if we play really well, we’ll have a chance to win the game. Whether we can play as well as we need to, that remains to be seen.”

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