GAMER: PROVIDENCE ST. MEL 77, NSCD 46
Providence St. Mel’s boys basketball team likes to get after it.
The turbo-charged Knights don’t wait around. From the opening tip, they shift it into overdrive and try to run you out of the gym.
Which was fine with North Shore Country Day coach Rashid Smith. He didn’t mind the speed of Tuesday night’s Class 1A regional title game in the NSCD gymnasium.
“It wasn’t the pace that they played at,” said Smith, following his team’s 77-46 loss to the Knights. “It was their physicality.”
Providence St. Mel, which improved to 17-9, raced out to an 11-2 lead and never trailed. The Knights will play either Fenger or Morgan Park Academy in a sectional semifinal game at Robeson on Feb. 27.
The Raiders, who ended up 14-14, kept things interesting throughout the first half. Junior Mazeed Oluewu (17 points) drilled consecutive three-pointers to make it an eight-point game, 30-22, with 2:19 left in the second quarter.
But the top-seeded Knights, who beat CICS/ChicagoQuest 91-31 in a regional semifinal on Feb. 20, started to pull away midway through the third quarter.
“I thought we had a chance to beat them,” said Smith, “if we would’ve played it the right way.
“Our goal was to try take their point guard (Tim Ervin) out of the game,” the NSCD coach added. “We wanted to limit him. Frustrate him. He runs their show, and we tried to make him do some things out of character.”
Instead, Ervin flourished. After scoring a quick five points in the opening frame, he was content to control the pace of the game and feed the ball to his shooters.
Oluewu, who made first-team all-conference along with Braden Adamson-Tate, made four three-pointers in the game. Arguably, his best moment of the game came early in the fourth quarter, when he shook off a defender with a pump fake and popped in a 14-footer.
Adamson-Tate, who will play soccer at Denison University next year, drained a couple of threes to finish with six points. He also had two steals.
Peter Miles, who was honorable mention all-conference, ended up with four points, two rebounds, two steals and two rebounds.
NSCD’s leading rebounder was senior Samuel Leiter. He had nine boards to go along with four points and three blocks.
In the final 52 seconds of the game, Raiders junior guard Edward Madigan came off the bench and showed off his shooting range by draining a pair of threes from the right wing.