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Charlotte, NC – After a convincing 76-62 win over Charlotte Latin on Tuesday, Providence Day will enter a difficult regular season stretch in the coming days.
The Chargers will play in five games over the next eight days, battling against the team’s toughest competitors for the CISAA conference title. The stretch will include matchups against Charlotte Christian and Cannon, along with a road trip to New York City for the Big Apple Basketball Invitational.
The victory over Charlotte Latin bodes well for Providence Day, as the team entered Tuesday’s contest having lost two games in a row. Head coach Brian Field was pleased to see his team get back in the win column.
“Yeah we needed to get one,” said Field. “We hadn’t played terrible at all this week. We played two good teams who got hot against us, but we had a really good practice last night– a lot of energy– and I don’t know if it a hundred-percent carried over tonight– but it’s good to get a win.”
In both of Providence Day’s previous defeats, the Chargers were confronted with teams that found their rhythm in the second half. Against York Prep, Providence Day appeared to be in perfect position for the victory, as the Chargers got 4-star prospect DJ Burns into foul trouble early in the game.
With 6:45 remaining in regulation and the Chargers leading by a score of 58-49, senior Devon Dotson (Kansas signee) drove hard to the basket and forced Burns to commit his fourth foul of the contest.
York Prep head coach Frank Hamrick contemplated substituting his 6’9 center, but then decided to roll the dice and keep Burns in the game. Hamrick’s gamble ending up paying dividends as Burns never received his fifth foul, and eventually became the catalyst in a 65-63 come-from-behind win for the Patriots.
Against Christ School, the Chargers trailed by only five points at halftime. However the Greenies caught fire in the third period as the team poured in eight 3-pointers over the course of five minutes, taking a 61-39 lead before the start of the fourth quarter. Christ School would go onto win by a score of 78-62, despite Dotson posting 36 points.
With that in perspective, it’s easy to see how the win over Charlotte Latin was especially meaningful for the confidence of Providence Day.
The Chargers were given a scare in the third quarter as the Hawks of Charlotte Latin cut the deficit to 47-42 with 2:50 remaining in the period. However Providence Day showed persistence after being tested, as the team mounted an impressive 14-2 run in to close the quarter and effectively put the game out of reach.
The Chargers will need to carry-over the same level of intensity for a full four quarters if they hope to defeat Charlotte Christian on Friday night, as the Knights boast four players that are averaging double figures in points. Senior Blake Preston (Liberty signee) leads the way with an impressive double-double average of 14.3 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game.
While Charlotte Christian can’t rely on the star-power of an athlete like Dotson, they might possess more depth than Providence Day.
After Preston, the Knights lineup features three talented juniors that Providence Day fans should be mindful of before Friday’s showdown. Guards J.C. Tharrington and Seth Bennett, along with small forward Paul Hudson, are all players that will likely compete at the next level in two years.
Nevertheless, the Chargers’ trio of Dotson, Trey Wertz (Santa Clara signee) and Isaac Suffren will be a difficult combination for Charlotte Christian to stop. The Providence Day offense is deadly whenever these three get going at the same time.
The prolific scoring ability of Dotson is a factor that defenses are continually stifled by. Wertz is easily one of (if not) the best sharpshooters in the Charlotte area, and is always a threat when attacking the basket. Finally, Suffren is the do-it-all forward for Providence Day. He provides the team with tremendous energy, and does a great job of creating opportunities around the rim.
Providence Day has gotten the better of Charlotte Christian in the last 11 meetings, a statistic that Coach Field was not hesitant about sharing.
“It’s a big rivalry. All of our conference games are fun rivalries. But I think we’re a target for them. We have 11 straight wins against them,” said Field. “We know that they’re really talented and I’ve had a chance to watch them play four or five times this year and I think our guys will be excited to compete against a really good team.”