Senior Drew Ellis got hot in the second half, hit 6 of 7 shots, scored 16 of his game-high 26 points and buoyed host Jeffersonville past Providence 61-51 Saturday night in boys’ basketball.
As he walked about the gym earlier in the day, Jeff coach Matt Pait said Ellis had a special look in his eye.
Pait said he asked Ellis if he was ready to drop 30 points. Ellis just smiled. “I knew he would play well,” Pait said.
Ellis didn’t score 30 but he also didn’t miss a shot in the fourth quarter, when the host Red Devils (7-5) needed his help the most.
Ellis, deflecting praise, credited his teammates.
“We really played together as a team,” he said. “The big thing was us getting stops on the defensive end. That’s where it all starts.”
Ellis said he believes the team is getting closer in the wake of losing Myles Harvey, who was dismissed from the squad.
“We’re all a family in the locker room,” Ellis said. “Losing a family member — it hurts. But we’re going to have tunnel vision and only look forward. We’re not going to look back on that.”
“It’s made everybody closer and we realize we can win without him,” Ellis said. “If we keep playing together and play like we did tonight, we can be very, very good.”
“It’s tough losing a guy you care about,” Pait said. “But you’ve got to move on.”
The biggest shot of the game for Ellis came with 4:04 left and the Red Devils clinging to a 48-47 lead. He drilled a 3-pointer from the left side and was fouled. He converted the free throw for a four-point play. Then, he hit another 3-pointer on Jeff’s next possession and the Red Devils led 55-49 with 3:26 left.
Providence coach Lou Lefevre said that for some reason his team couldn’t recognize what the Red Devils wanted to do on offense. “Watching him for three years, you know he’s the best shooter on the court,” the Providence coach said.
“He was just catching it comfortable in rhythm with space,” Lefevre said. “From the beginning to the end, he was just catching and shooting. That’s just bad defense. I’m not taking anything away from the kid. He dominated the game on offense.”
Despite Ellis’ offensive explosion, Pait credite d the entire team.
“I’m trying to find guys who want to play defense,” Pait said. “It’s more than just scoring. It takes defense. It takes rebounding. It takes handling the ball. Tonight, I think we took a step in the right direction.”
For the Red Devils, Chad Hudson added 10 points, hitting a couple of 3-pointers.
For Providence (7-3), Grant Goad led the way with 17 points.