By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — The Providence Pioneers came out and battled in their game against Crawford County on Tuesday night at the Larkin Center. It was one of their most impressive outings of the year.
The Pioneers of coach Rob Murawski really turned the heat on in the second half. During the final two quarters, they turned a two-point halftime lead into a 16-point victory.
Providence (7-11) won the contest by a score of 51-35. The victory gave them two wins in a row in their final game before their most challenging game of the year this Friday.
“They finally came out,” said Murawski. “It was a battle the first half. We were having a hard time scoring, but we really weren’t letting them score much.”
Crawford County (7-11) led much of the first quarter and 12-9 at quarter’s end. The Pioneers then outscored their guests 9-4 in the second frame to lead just 18-16 at the break.
“They came out in that third quarter and ready to play,” said Murawski. “I was really pleased with the way they played. I told the boys that we had to concentrate on two possessions: a score and a stop, and they did it.”
Providence stretched the lead to as many as 13 points in the third quarter, and it led 39-26 heading into the final frame.
The last quarter the Pioneers maintained what they were doing, never letting Crawford inch closer.
Murawski has shuffled his lineup recently, and it apparently paid off for this game. Murawski has inserted Hayden Burke and Nick Sexton into starters’ roles, replacing Austin Barnett and Cullen Ebert, respectively.
The switch showed effectiveness against Crawford County. Sexton ran the point, while Burke was very active on the court and a physical presence inside.
“Barnett’s a little more comfortable coming off the bench,” said Murawski. “The freshman Sexton is playing very well for us. I kind of like the lineup, and I think we’ll stick with it. I think they played really well.”
Sterling Huber really got the ball rolling for the Pioneers in the second half. He drained four 3-pointers en route to leading his team in scoring with 14 points.
“Sterling Huber got hot in the second half. He’s very capable at any time of turning it on,” said Murawski.
Barnett also reached double figures with 11 points.
Crawford County was led in scoring by Matt Dearborn, who matched Huber with 14 points.
Providence will face a monumental task on Friday as it entertains Class 4A No. 3 New Albany (17-1), tipping off around 7:30 p.m. Providence athletic director Mickey Golembeski said that the final available tickets have been sold, so the Larkin Center will be a sellout on Friday.
Crawford County will return to action on Friday. The Wolfpack will travel to North Harrison (13-6), starting at 7:30 p.m.
PROVIDENCE 51, CRAWFORD COUNTY 35
Crawford County 12 4 10 9—35
Providence 9 9 21 12—51
Crawford County (7-11): Preston Coleman 7, Gavin Coleman 7, Christian Carlton 1, Trevor Harvey 6, Matt Dearborn 14, Kaleb Newton 0, Noah Adams 0, Colten Nickelson 0, Nick Stroud 0, Taten Arnold 0, Reese Sturgeon 0.
Providence (7-11): Blake Murphy 7, Austin Barnett 11, Nick Sexton 9, Hayden Burke 5, Reece Libs 2, Cullen Ebert 1, Sterling Huber 14, Trey Beatty 2, Aiden Finnegan 0, Bishop Edwards 0, Alec Fougerousse 0, Zack Johnson 0.
3-point field goals: Crawford County 1 (G. Coleman 1); Providence 6 (Huber 4, Murphy 1, Sexton 1).
Total fouls: Crawford County 15, Providence 16.
Fouled out: none
Junior varsity: Crawford County 44, Providence 31.