After a sluggish start, the Providence boys basketball warmed up and pulled away from visiting Madison 57-38 Saturday night.
The Pioneers (3-0) trailed 19-17 with 2:33 left in the second quarter after Madison’s Daniel Anderson hit his fourth 3-pointer of the second period.
“It makes me nervous as can be,” Providence coach Andrew Grantz said of the slow starts. “We got to get off to better starts.”
Providence then went on a 16-0 run that spilled into the third quarter. When Juston Betz hit two free throws with 5:36 left in the third quarter, the Pioneers led 33-19. Madison (1-2) went scoreless for 4:57 and never recovered. For the game, the Cubs were held to 15-of-58 shooting for 26 percent.
Betz, who received his ring for helping Providence win the Class 2-A baseball title in late spring, led the Pioneers with 25, including four 3-pointers. Betz scored eight of Providence’s first 10 points before he started to get help at the offensive end.
“Juston did a really good job of knocking down shots at the beginning,” Grantz said. “I thought we were getting good looks. They just weren’t falling. … In the second half, we got into a rhythm. In the first half, we were a little hesitant.”
As the season progresses, Betz said he expects more help at the offensive end.
“We’re a good shooting team,” Betz said. “We really are.”
Betz, one of the main reasons the Pioneers advanced to the Class 2-A semi state a year ago, said he embraces being a leader.
“The great thing about this team is they’ve accepted my leadership,” Betz said. “They know I have their back and they have mine. It’s easy to lead them. … They listen to me, and they hold me accountable, too.”
Meanwhile, Anderson led the Cubs with 15 points but just scored three points in the second half. Landon Sprigler, a sophomore guard, added 11 points for Providence.
MADISON: 7 – 12 – 7 – 12- 38
PROVIDENCE: 7 – 19 – 15 – 16 – 57
Madison (1-2) – Anderson 15, Howser 2, Yancy 8, Perry 9, Strouse 2, Welsh 2.
Providence (3-0) – Betz 25, Coker 2, Conrad 5, Morris 1, Sprigler 11, Judd 4, Boesing 3, Mitchell 6
3-point goals: Anderson 4, Yancy 2, Perry, Betz 4, Conrad, Sprigler, Boesing.