Guards Wear Down Providence!

December 18, 2012 by  

noah_bballBURBANK — In Saturday night’s Bellarmine-Jefferson High boys’ basketball game against Providence, the Guards, despite having a significant size advantage and with Pioneer superstar Marcus LoVett, Jr., still out due to the lingering effects of an ear infection, only led by two points at half.

“We wanted to see what size of heart we had because we weren’t playing very good in the first half… we missed a lot of shots, so [in the second half] the size of our heart was what I wanted to find out,” Bell-Jeff coach Julian Andrade said. “They came out and did what they needed to do.”

Things changed in the second half as Bellarmine-Jefferson, ranked No. 7 in the most recent CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA poll, used its inside presence to dominate the offensive boards and pull away for an 88-66 non-league victory over Providence, ranked No. 6 in 5AA.

jalen“The main thing today is we couldn’t rebound,” Providence coach Ernest Baskerville said. “They’re big. They’re physical. They play hard. I thought they did a job. They’re playing in the second half… they just dumped it in, dumped it in, dumped it in. We couldn’t do anything with that size.”

Bellarmine-Jefferson (3-5) built as much as an eight-point lead in the second quarter before Christian Ware-Berry hit two three-pointers, as part of his 19 second-quarter points, in the final three minutes before halftime to pull the Pioneers within a basket at the break, trailing 37-35.

In the third quarter, Providence (2-7) took the lead with 5:50 remaining when Brian Cabagnot sank a triple from the right side. The Pioneer advantage peaked at four when Ware-Berry made a reverse layup driving the left baseline. However, after that the Guards finished the quarter on a 24-5 run, highlighted by a one-handed jam by Jalen Henry following a steal and a three-pointer by Noah De Corsi following another Henry steal just before the buzzer.

The final quarter saw Bell-Jeff build the lead and win going away. The Guards dominated the lane and shut down everyone on Providence, save for Ware-Berry, who had 14 in the final period to end with a game-high 43 points.

“[Ware-Berry] did the best he could do and I’ve got to give him a hand for that,” LoVett, Jr., who sat at the end of the bench in street clothes, said. “There’s a lot of things he had to do out there and he did a great job. I’m happy for him, even though we didn’t get the win.”

The Guards used their entire roster, often substituting en mass halfway through a quarter. This led to a balanced scoring as eight Guards scored, with five reaching double digits. De Corsi led the way off the bench with 15. Henry had 14 points to complement his strong all-around game. Starters Malcolm Regisford and Abid Oses had 13, while Giovanni Gabb had 11.

It was the sixth loss in a row for Providence as it tries to tread water until the return of LoVett, Jr., who has missed the last seven games since scoring 37 points in a season-opening win. It seems like the CIF Southern Section Division V-A Player of the Year, who is widely recognized as one of the top players at his position and age, may be close to returning. His father, Marcus LoVett, Sr., reports that he is healthy from the ear infection that sidelined him, cleared to play, and, as of Thursday, back to basketball activities. As of yet, however, there is no target date for the sophomore’s return to the floor as he catches up with academics first as finals approach.

“I was happy when he asked for chili cheese fries. I knew he was better,” the senior LoVett said at halftime.

Bellarmine-Jefferson’s win Saturday avenges last season’s 77-71 road loss to the Pioneers, who had a healthy LoVett, Jr., score 32 points in that one.

“We’ve got a size advantage and they’re missing their best player, so it was to our advantage tonight,” Andrade said.

By Nathan Cambridge

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