With teammate Dalton Duley hounded by a box-and-one defense, Providence senior guard Cory Cahalan stepped up with five 3-pointers and a game-high 19 points to lead the Pioneers to a 46-38 victory over Charlestown on Friday night in the 52nd Annual Silver Creek Boys Varsity Holiday Tourney.
Providence (7-0), which has won this tournament 12 times (second only to Silver Creek’s total of 22), will play defending champion Clarksville (seven titles) today. The Generals pulled out a 45-42 victory over host Silver Creek.
Providence handled Charlestown (3-3) easily two weeks ago on the Pirates’ home floor, so Charlestown tried to shake things up this time. It also played keep-away when it had the ball for much of the first half.
“Their strategy was effective against us,” said Providence coach Louis Lefevre. “They wanted to lull us to sleep on offense and then they concentrated on taking Dalton out of the game on our end. It worked, so congratulations to their coach. We thought (the box-and-one) might happen sooner or later, but that’s the first time we have faced it.”
The Pioneers responded with a barrage of 3-pointers. Cahalan hit one in the first period, then Duley connected at the buzzer for a 14-10 lead after eight minutes. In the second period, Cahalan sank two more as the Pioneers pushed the advantage to five at the half, 24-19.
Things got tight in the third, as Charlestown sank four free throws to end the period and cut the lead to 31-29.
After one more Cahalan 3-pointer pushed the lead to seven at 36-29, the Pirates sank three of their own down the stretch to keep it close. But the Pioneers showed poise throughout the fourth period, sinking 10 of 10 free-throw attempts and keeping the ball for most of the final four minutes.
With 37.5 seconds remaining Chris Braun, who led Charlestown with 16 points, banked in a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 40-35, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.
* Clarksville 45, Silver Creek 42: Junior guard Calvin McEwen scored seven points in the final minute, including four free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining, to lift the Generals (6-1) over the Dragons (2-6). Clarksville had to scratch and claw against Silver Creek, fighting off foul trouble and a three-point deficit heading into the final minute.
“A lot of things did not go our way but you have to find a way to win,” said Clarksville coach Jason Connell. “We hung in at the very end and found a way.”
Things got crazy in the fourth quarter. After trailing 28-25, Silver Creek tied the score at 28 and again at 35, before taking the lead on a Brooks Howell 3-pointer. McEwen hit two free throws to bring the Generals within one, but two free throws by Zach Davidson gave Silver Creek a 40-37 advantage with 1:18 left.
McEwen then hit a clutch 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to tie it. The shot rolled around the rim before going down.
“It felt good coming out of my hands,” McEwen said, “but I saw it rolling around like that, and the way this night was going, such a bizarre night, I thought it was going to rim out. But then it went in and my heart just exploded. I was so happy.”
With 46 seconds left, Gabe Bauer, who scored a game-high 17 points for Silver Creek, notched his final two on a drive to the hoop for a 42-40 lead.
After Jermargio Smith sank a free throw to cut the lead to one, the Generals got the ball back and put the ball in McEwen’s hands following a time out with 8.2 seconds left.
McEwen drove inside, collided with three defenders and drew the foul. Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman was assessed a technical foul for arguing, giving McEwen four free throws standing alone before the screaming fans. He calmly swished all four for the win.