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Top-seeded Providence St. Mel used an offensive onslaught on Wednesday night to run by Marine and into the championship of the Class 2A Raby Regional.
Three players scored in double-figures and 10 players on the roster scored as the Knights cruised to an 84-65 victory. The margin could have been greater, but Providence St. Mel missed several easy layups after emptying their bench at the end of the game.
“Coach (Tim) Ervin told us that we needed to go to the basket and get the game over with,” said guard Tevin King, who led the Knights with 22 points. “If we get the referees involved, and they start calling fouls and we get into the bonus, then we’ll win the game.”
The strategy worked. The Knights (22-5) started the game on an 18-4 run, going to the free-throw line seven times in the first quarter alone. Marine Military was in the bonus early in the second quarter, and couldn’t keep Providence out of the lane or off the line. By halftime, the Knights’ lead was 15 points.
For the game, Providence St. Mel attempted 31 free throws, making 18 of them.
“I think we did a really good job today,” said point guard Khalil Small, who finished with 16 points, five assists and five rebounds. “When we move it around, we’re really unstoppable.
“We know that when we attack, we’re a pretty good free throw shooting team. So we like to get up and down, and our defense can shut them down to get a big lead.”
The Bulldogs (19-8) did provide a pair of exciting plays, however. Timothy Hunter banked in a three-pointer as the second quarter buzzer sounded, and then a quarter later, Johnny Ware beat the third quarter horn with a half court shot that swished in.
Providence St. Mel faces host Raby in the regional championship on Friday evening.