By GREG BURTON
Special to Southern Indiana Preps
CLARKSVILLE — Things were looking rather rosy for Providence in the first half of Friday night’s game with North Harrison at the Larkin Center.
Rosy turned to rotten in the second half, however. The result was a 60-47 loss, dropping the Pioneers to 8-13 on the season.
“As well as we played in the first half, we didn’t play very well in the second,” said Providence coach Rob Murawski.
A win against an opponent like North Harrison (15-7) would have been a big boost for Providence just as the season is winding down heading into sectional play. Near the end of the first half, a win looked promising.
Just before the end of the second quarter, Providence’s Cullen Ebert hit a 3-pointer to give his team a nine-point lead at 30-21. This was the first of four treys Ebert hit for the game. He was mainly responsible for keeping the Pioneers in the game as long as they were.
In the third quarter, Ebert hit the third of his 3-pointers to put the Pioneers back up by nine at 38-29. Then a short while later, he drained his final 3, giving the Pioneers an eight-point advantage at 41-33.
It was at that point, though, that the bottom fell out for Providence. The Pioneers scored just six more points the rest of the game, while North Harrison pumped in 27.
“We were up by nine, and I thought we were playing well. Then, we took ill-advised shots and didn’t play defense,” said Murawski.
For the second half alone, North Harrison outscored its hosts 37-17, turning around a game it appeared the Cougars were going to lose.
The final period was nothing more than an exercise in futility for the Pioneers. Even though they led by two points entering the final eight minutes, Providence sat back and watched North Harrison run away with the victory.
“We gave it away,” said Murawski. “We didn’t rebound in the second half. We only scored four points in the fourth quarter. We weren’t very good.”
In the final period, North Harrison outscored Providence 19-4. The Cougars made it look easy the last quarter.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and they worked,” said North Harrison coach Kevin Jones.
“Until we play a full game, we’re not going to beat teams like that,” said Murawski.
Ebert finished with a game-high 21 points. Blake Murphy added 15 points, but he had a lot of difficulty finding the basket in the last two quarters. Providence had only five players reach the scoring column.
Jake Book paced North Harrison with 15 points, while teammate Braden Jenkins scored 13. Eli Gutknecht came off the bench and hit two key 3-pointers for the Cougars during their charge when they overtook Providence.
Providence will play at Brownstown Central (15-6) tonight. North Harrison will finish its regular-season schedule at home Tuesday night against Class 2A No. 6 Paoli (20-1).
NORTH HARRISON 60, PROVIDENCE 47
North Harrison 11 12 18 19—60
Providence 12 18 13 4—47
North Harrison (15-7): Max Flock 9, Jake Book 15, Quinn Kaiser 2, Braden Jenkins 13, Skyler Wetzel 3, Eli Gutknecht 6, Jake Harley 9, Langdon Hatton 3, Trevor Haub 0, Chase Johnson 0, Ben Davis 0.
Providence (8-13): Blake Murphy 15, Cullen Ebert 21, Sterling Huber 6, Trey Beatty 3, Reece Libs 2, Austin Barnett 0, Hayden Burke 0, Nick Sexton 0, Alec Fougerousse 0, Aidan Finnegan 0, Bishop Edwards 0, Zach Johnson 0.
3-point field goals: North Harrison 6 (Gutknecht 3, Flock 1, Book 1, Wetzel 1); Providence 7 (Ebert 4, Huber 2, Murphy 1).
Total fouls: North Harrison 9, Providence 20.
Fouled out: none.
Junior varsity: Providence 57, North Harrison 50.