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Without Marcus LoVett Jr., turnovers doom Providence basketball

Providence Pioneers commit 25 miscues in 70-60 tournament loss against Salesian.

November 30, 2012

PROVIDENCE HIGH — Minus two of its top players, the Providence High boys' basketball team was forced to scramble by adjusting its lineup.

With starting guards Marcus LoVett Jr. and Kyle Lipton out, the Pioneers were forced to play three freshmen. At times, the Pioneers’ inexperienced showed.

Host Providence committed 25 turnovers in a 70-60 loss against Salesian on Friday night in a semifinal game of the 24th annual Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic.

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Providence, which won the tournament last season, dropped to 2-1 and will face Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studios (2-1) in the tournament’s third-place game at 6 p.m. today. Salesian (3-0) will meet St. Francis (3-0) in the title contest at 7:30 after St. Francis posted a 61-55 semifinal victory earlier.

“You can’t have 25 turnovers,” said Providence Coach Ernest Baskerville, who guided the Pioneers to the CIF Southern Section Division V-A championship contest last season. “We have some new guys in there learning the rotation who have virtually no varsity experience.

“We didn’t execute. We played horrible. You take half of those turnovers and it led to 24 points.”

LoVett, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year, missed the game because of an illness. Lipton, a junior, is out with a knee injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago during a scrimmage against Burroughs. Baskerville said it’s doubtful LoVett, a sophomore who was named the division’s player of the year after scoring 1,035 points, will play Saturday and Lipton will be out for the bulk of the season while rehabilitating his knee.

Salesian, which held a 31-27 halftime lead, got a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Morris Ramos to end the third quarter and take a 50-42 advantage.

Providence’s Christian Ware-Berry, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, said Ramos’ shot deflated the Pioneers.

“That was a key play,” said Ware-Berry, who picked up his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter and didn’t return until early in the fourth. “We are a young team and we have a lot of guys who are experiencing the type of pressure put on by a team like Salesian.

“This was a good test for us. Not being on the floor was tough because I wasn’t able to help my teammates out.”

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