By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Providence stepped it up a notch or two on Friday night at the Larkin Center. The Pioneers almost got over the top, but fell just short in a good effort, losing to Salem in overtime 46-44.
Providence coach Brad Burden liked much of what he saw, most of which were things he had not seen enough of in the early season.
“I’m never happy with a loss,” said Burden, whose team dropped to 4-2. “We’re way past that in the program. But I really liked what I saw — the fight that I saw in the kids was good.”
The Pioneers came out in a flurry, building a quick 10-4 over their guests, and forcing an early timeout.
The Lady Lions came back immediately, however, tying the game at 10 on a 3-pointer by Leah Miller, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 23 points.
Salem briefly took the lead at 12-11 on a Miller field goal shortly thereafter. But the rest of the half belonged to Providence.
The Pioneers went on a 12-2 lead and enjoyed their largest lead of the night at 23-14. With a little more than a minute remaining before the intermission, Providence held an eight-point lead at 23-15, but turned the ball over. This allowed Salem (8-1) to score and cut the halftime deficit to six.
“I was not surprised by us getting the big lead in the first half, but then I kind of was,” said Burden. “Those are the kind of spurts I thought we would see from us. We finally got (Natalie) Boesing scoring. We finally got (Brinley) Prather scoring, and we got a tremendous amount of things from (Sierra) Brooks tonight, although I don’t think she scored a whole lot. If we get other people scoring than Hannah (Wolford), we’ll be all right.”
Early in the third period, Prather hit a bucket to extend the Pioneer lead to eight at 25-17. But then Salem kicked things into gear. The Lady Lions went on a 12-2 run to take the lead 29-27 after a bucket by Mackenzie Underwood. The third period ended with that score.
Wolford hit a bucket to tie the game at 29, and then the teams played evenly until late in the fourth quarter.
Salem trailed by one point at 35-34, but went on a 6-0 run to go up by five, and Providence looked in danger.
However, Wolford scored the final five points of regulation, including a long 3-pointer as time was running down to send the game into overtime.
Missed opportunities spelled the difference for the Pioneers. A free throw by Wolford gave them their final lead of the night at 41-40. But Salem took advantage of things Providence did not do to seal the win.
“We turned it over late. We missed some free throws late. We didn’t rebound late,” said Burden. “We defended all night. We just had a couple of possessions late that hurt.
“We played hard tonight, and I think we found something tonight we’ve been looking for in all the kids.”Wolford led the charge for Providence with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Before the game, the senior was honored with making the 1,000-point club, and she now ranks third on the Pioneers’ all-time girls’ scoring list. She ranks fifth overall for boys and girls. After her 20 points this game, she has accumulated 1,123 points in her career.
SALEM 46, PROVIDENCE 44, OT
Salem 12 5 12 11 6—46
Providence 13 10 4 13 4—44
Salem (8-1): Jamie Taylor 2, Mackenzie Underwood 6, Lettie Nice 0, Hope Tomlinson 9, Leah Miller 23, Callie Backherms 2, Lexi Garloch 0, Karly Sweeney 4.
Providence (4-2): Sierra Brooks 2, Natalie Boesing 8, Hannah Wolford 20, Brinley Prather 7, Brigid Welch 7, Kaylee Kaiser 0.
3-point field goals: Salem 4 (Miller 3, Tomlinson 1); Providence 3 (Wolford 2, Prather 1).
Total fouls: Salem 13, Providence 17.
Fouled out: Providence — Brooks.
Junior varsity: Salem 45, Providence 12.