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Rebels can’t overcome No. 16 Providence

Rebels can’t overcome No. 16 Providence
Rebels can’t overcome No. 16 Providence
Photo by Brandon Miniard. South Central freshman guard Cole Thomas struggles to split the double-team defense of Providence’s Jackson Kaiser, left, and Casey Kaelin during the Rebels 51-39 loss to the Class 2A No. 16 Pioneers on Monday.
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

With a 63-55 victory over Clarksville on Jan. 29, South Central Rebels’ head coach Greg Robinson was the latest boys’ hoops skipper to join the 200-win club.

After following that milestone achievement with a 59-27 victory over Southern Athletic Conference-rival Crothersville last Wednesday, Robinson’s Rebels returned home to Elizabeth on Monday for a late-season test against Providence.

Despite hanging with their guests for much of the second and third quarters, the Rebels could not keep up with the superior shooting ability of the Class 2A No. 16 Pioneers as they fell 51-39.

The Rebels found themselves stumbling out of the gate as the Pioneers rushed ahead on a 9-0 game-opening run. For the period, the Pioneers were led by five points from Max Beatty, followed by a three-pointer from Quentin Hesse and buckets from Casey Kaelin, Tyler Simmons and Jaden Johnson.

It took over half the period for the Rebels to crack into the scoring column on a bucket from sophomore forward Ethan Hedden, followed by a score from sophomore guard Christian Kiper. As the quarter was winding down, junior guard Craig Simpson elevated for a fade-away three, watching the shot trickle through the net at the buzzer to cut the Pioneers’ lead to 14-7.

Aside from a bucket apiece from junior guard Ty Jones and freshman guard Cole Thomas, the rest of the Rebels’ offense in the second quarter came at the charity stripe as Kiper, Thomas and junior guard Kole Stewart combined to go 7 of 8 on free throws. The Pioneers responded with a pair of Kaelin triples alongside five points from Beatty and a Simmons bucket before retreating to the locker room with a 27-18 half-time edge.

The Rebels’ offense continued to improve to begin the second half, led by five points from Stewart, followed by a pair of Hedden buckets, baskets from Kiper and sophomore guard Caden Bogan and two Thomas freebies. The Pioneers kept their distance with five points from Kaelin, threes from Hesse and Grant Seebold, a bucket from Johnson and free throws from Simmons, but the Rebels inched closer as the third quarter ended with a 42-33 Pioneers’ edge.

The Pioneers’ defense kept the Rebels’ offense in check in the final period as Hedden managed just one bucket while he and Stewart each knocked down a pair of free throws. That allowed the Pioneers to expand their advantage with buckets from Hesse, Simmons, Johnson and Cade Carver, along with a free throw from Brian Wall to finish off their 51-39 victory.

The Rebels will be back in action Friday when they travel to Henryville for SAC play at 7:30 p.m. They will return home the following day to host Cannelton at 2:30 p.m.

Providence 14 13 15 9 – 51
South Central 7 11 15 6 – 39
Providence – Kaelin 13, Beatty 10, Hesse 8, Simmons 8, Johnson 6, Seebold 3, Carver 2, Wall 1.
South Central – Stewart 11, Hedden 10, Kiper 6, Thomas 5, Simpson 3, Jones 2, Bogan 2.
3-point goals – Providence 7 (Kaelin 3, Hesse 2, Beatty, Seebold); South Central 1 (Simpson).