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Providence hangs on to defeat NH

Providence’s boys basketball team, a club that had lost just one game all season, invaded Ramsey on Friday night and almost got more than it bargained for.
Led by four three-pointers and 15 points from Troy Eveslage, North Harrison gave the visiting Pioneers quite a scare in a 40-38 triumph for Providence.
The Cougars (7-11) trailed by a wide margin early, 12-0.
“There’s a team somewhere in the country that would make it 26-0, but it’s not Providence,” Pioneers coach Lou Lefevre said. “That’s not the first time this year it’s happened to us. We stopped scoring in the first half because we stopped stopping them. I don’t think kids realize that if you want to score a lot of points, you have to guard people. Because the easiest way to score is if you’re stopping somebody.”
A pair of threes by Eveslage over the final 1:41 of the opening frame kept the hosts in it at the first stop, 13-6.
The long-range shooting continued in the second period as Jon Couts dropped home a three-ball and Eveslage canned another trey to make it a one-point game.
Providence’s Justin Benedetti and J.J. McDonald sandwiched field goals around a put-back by Zack Sullivan, but North would go on to outscore its opponent over the remaining 2:51 to hold a 22-18 lead at the intermission.
‘We always stress that games are games of runs,’ North Harrison coach Rick Snodgrass said. ‘I think what’s happening now is our kids are learning how to handle runs against them. We’re responding, and early in the season, we weren’t able to do that on a regular basis.’
The Cougars would score the first four points of the third period as Eveslage sank a free throw and Cory Beach dropped in a jumper.
The six-point advantage was the home team’s largest lead of the game.
Providence stormed back as Benedetti and Keevan Miller posted a 9-0 spurt to put their club back on top, 27-25.
Derek Rainbolt sliced to the basket and tied the game for North heading to the final quarter, 27-27.
After a free throw by Providence’s Luke Fitzgerald, North got a three from Beach.
Miller scored from both inside and outside the arc to pull his club ahead, but Beach answered with another three to tie it at 33-all.
Providence’s Max McCrite buried one from downtown to give his club a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
For good measure, Miller added another bucket.
After Eveslage’s final trey of the night, Benedetti sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 17.5 seconds left.
‘This was a sectional-type ball game,’ Snodgrass said. ‘Sectional-type games are possession and low-scoring games usually. We had some nice opportunities at the end, some nice plays, nice shots, and we just didn’t capitalize. They did, but it wasn’t for the lack of effort or of anything other than the fact that was a good ball club that beat us.’
North Harrison shot 14 of 35 from the field, including 7 of 16 from three-point land. The Cougars, who equaled Providence’s 25 rebounds, hit three free throws in seven tries.
Beach finished with eight points, Rainbolt scored five and Couts and Zach Janes each put in three apiece.
The No. 2-ranked (Class 2A) Pioneers, who are ineligible for the state tournament this year due to recruiting violations, were 15 of 43 from the floor, 5 of 20 on threes and 5 of 11 from the foul stripe.
Miller paced Providence with 14 points, followed by 13 from Benedetti, six by McCrite and five by Luke Fitzgerald.
‘When we got behind early, we were playing hard,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We went through a couple of droughts, and they made a couple of plays where we didn’t score a couple of times and they did. We were trying to go inside-out, but we also know they have a strong interior defense.
‘I thought all eight of our kids that played tonight did a nice job. We played 32 minutes of intensity,’ he said.
‘I don’t care what team it is,’ Snodgrass said. ‘When you shoot the ball well and you’re hitting your shots, every team looks good. Shooting always makes everything else pick up. We were able to do that. I have to give the kids credit. We had a good game plan coming into tonight. We executed our game plan. We just fell a few points short.’
The Cougars close out the regular season on the road this Friday in the first-ever regular-season matchup against New Albany.
Tip off for the jayvee is at 6 p.m.