SELLERSBURG, Ind. – The Providence boys’ basketball team built a 10-point lead in the second half and then held off a late rally by host Silver Creek, turning back the Dragons 49-46 Friday night in the final of the 56th annual Silver Creek Holiday Tournament.
The Pioneers (8-1) won the tournament for the first time since 2012. “This is important to me, growing up in Southern Indiana,” said Providence coach Andrew Grantz. “It’s more about the kids. It will built their confidence, going into the second half of the second.”
Providence got a huge lift from 6-foot-6 senior Dawson Mitchell, who missed just about all of last season with a knee surgery.
Mitchell scored all of his nine points after the first quarter.
“Today (Friday morning), he had his best practice I’ve seen him have in two years,” Grantz said. “He did what he’s capable of doing. It’s just a matter of him knocking off the rest, getting comfortable and getting used to the speed of the game.”
Mitchell said he started to feel more comfortable.
“I’m starting to get back into my groove,” the muscular Mitchell said. “I’m starting to bring my physicality.”
After Sam Conrad, who led the winners with 13 points, hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup, the Pioneers led 36-26 midway through the third quarter.
“When we need them, he hits the big ones,” Grantz said of Conrad.
The Dragons (7-3), who watched their seven-game winning streak disappear, slowly crawled back into the game. When Cameron Stephens hit a 3-pointer with less than four minutes left, Silver Creek trailed 44-40. The Dragons then pulled to within 45-44 on a layup by Jacob Garrett with 27 second left.
However, Providence hit just enough free throws (3 of 6) down the stretch to keep a 49-46 cushion before Stephens missed a 3-point heave at the buzzer. Stephens and Zane Gross combined for 38 of Silver Creek’s 46 points. Both scored 19.
“First of all, give credit to Providence,” said Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman. “They hit some shots. . . I’m proud of the way we came back. Providence is a good team.
“We’ve just got to learn from it,” Hoffman said. “Our January schedule is a gauntlet. We don’t have a choice but to learn from it.”
Charlestown 48, Clarksville 38: Battling a deep thigh bruise incurred during Thursday night’s loss against Silver Creek, Charlestown guard Jordan Knoebel wasn’t sure he’d even play against Clarksville.
“It hurt so badly,” Knoebel said. “I didn’t even wear my basketball shoes to the walk-through this morning.”
After the walk-through, Knoebel thought he’d give it a try.
Knoebel who scored just eight points against Silver Creek and just four in the first half against Clarksville, finally got on track and poured in 19 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. “I’m glad I made some plays tonight,” he said.
“I could tell he was sore,” Charlestown coach Jason Connell said of Knoebel. “He gutted it out. Tonight, he wanted the ball.”
It’s a game the Pirates really needed, Connell said. “Maybe this will get us over the hump,” he said. “You don’t want to play in the holiday tournament and go 0-2. That’s not a good feeling.”
Clarksville coach Brian McEwen said his team needs to start taking care of the simple things.
“I’m just not pleased with how we competed tonight,” McEwen said. “It’s not job to make sure they’re focused and ready to go. I get upset with them but I’m not upset with myself.”
Christian Stewart led the Generals (5-4) with 20 points. Alex Taylor added 14 points.