MARENGO, Ind. – Top-ranked Providence held off Henryville 49-40 Tuesday night in the first round of the Class 2A Crawford County Sectional.
Providence (21-2) will face Paoli (15-8) in the first semifinal Friday night at 6. Clarksville (13-10), a 60-49 winner over Eastern Pekin, will face Crawford County (17-6).
The Pioneers led just 23-17 at the half before taking control in the third quarter. Providence scored the first 12 points in the third quarter, hitting their first six shots.
Of the 12-point outburst to start the third quarter, Eli Coker, a 6-foot senior guard, scored 10 of those, his only points of the evening.
“We decided to start attacking the rim,” Coker said. “In the first half, we settled for outside shots. Attacking the rim really got us going offensively.”
When Coker hit a layup with 5:02 left in the third quarter, the Pioneers surged to their largest lead, 35-17. With Providence up 39-22, Henryville opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run, cutting the deficit to 39-31 as Kasey Robertson converted on a cutback with 5:57 left.
The Hornets (19-6) closed to within seven points on a couple of occasions, but they couldn’t get closer.
Nick Walker, one of the top players in Southern Indiana, ignited the comeback with eight of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. Alex Judd, who scored 10 points for Providence, hit all four of his free throws in the final 1:30 to help seal the win.
Providence coach Andrew Grantz said the Pioneers had a case of first-game tournament jitters.
“I’m glad we won,” he said. “It was just nerves. We just got sped up a little bit.”
“When you get down by 18 points in the second half against Providence, you’re going to lose,” said Henryville coach Jared Hill. “We battled. Once we got down by so much, they figured it’s going to get a lot worse or get better. They chose to make it better.
“We had a tremendous year. Losing in the first round (of the sectional) doesn’t define our year. We still won more games in the regular season than we’ve won in a 100 years.”
Clarksville-Eastern Pekin: The Generals stretched their lead to as many as 13 points in the second half before Eastern Pekin employed a foul-first philosophy in the final period.
In the fourth quarter, the Generals hit 22 of 32 free throws to seal the win. Murphy McEwen and Charles Van Winkle combined for 14 of 16 at the free-throw line.
McEwen led the Generals with 15 points. Christian Stewart added 14 points. Clarksville coach Brian Ewen said he was thrilled to get past the first round but his team must play better.
“We’ve got to play better and defend better,” Brian McEwen said. “We’ll have to play with a lot more intensity (against Crawford County) and a lot more fight.”
The teams combined for 76 free throws.
CLASS 2A CRAWFORD CO. SECTIONAL
PROVIDENCE 49, HENRYVILLE 40
Braxton Robertson 11p; Andrew House 3p; Kendall Dunn 2p; Kasey Robertson 4p; Nick Walker 18p; Thomas Green 2p
Juston Betz 4p; Cullen Ebert 7p; Eli Coker 10p; Sam Conrad 8p; Landon Sprigler 2p; Alex Judd 10p; Dawson Mitchell 8p
CLARKSVILLE 60, EASTERN PEKIN 49
Murphy McEwen 15p; Charles VanWinkle 10p; Seth Hamilton 2p; Ethan Cummings 1p; Benett McEwen 7p; Christian Stewart 14p; Nathan Ludwig 9p; Alex Taylor 2p
EASTERN PEKIN (5-18)
Parker Wallingford 7p; Leif Edlin 9p; Trevor Lewellen 10p;Mason Moore 2p; Ridge Hall 10; Brian Williams 1p; Connor Marshall 6p; Jacob Stewart 2p; Parker Walton 2p