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Providence boys' basketball downed by Holy Martyrs

Providence Pioneers lose league's third-place game, 57-42, putting playoffs up in the air.

February 07, 2013|By Robert Fulton

NORTH HOLLYWOOD — The Providence High boys basketball team is a group in transition, a team searching for an identity.

That's fine if the calendar reads December.

Unfortunately for the Pioneers, the month is February, and time just might be running out.

“You can't go into the playoffs, expecting to get a playoff spot, playing bad,” said Providence Coach Ernest Baskerville. “You're supposed to be playing better down the stretch. We're not playing better. You're not supposed to hit these bumps in the road down the stretch.”

The Pioneers fell to Holy Martyrs, 57-42, on Thursday night at Oakwood High. The game was for third place in the Liberty League tournament, with the top three finishers gauntleted a playoff slot. Providence (9-17), which won the league title last season, now must hope for an at-large selection when pairings are released on Sunday.

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The Pioneers were without star player and leading scorer Marcus LoVett Jr., who it was confirmed Wednesday will not return to the team this season for unspecified reasons. Point guard Jonathan Ly played Thursday on a bad knee, obviously hobbled, after missing Wednesday’s loss.

Baskerville was clearly frustrated by his team's effort against Holy Martyrs.

“There was no heart and desire, and that's not a team that I coach,” he said. “I don't coach for people to play in spurts. You don't play in spurts. You play basketball hard the whole 32 minutes. When the 32 minutes is over, then you can get your break. You don't take breaks during the game.”

The contest was tight midway through the third period after Providence's Christian Ware-Berry knocked down a pair of free throws to pull his team to within 30-27. Holy Martyrs then went on a 20-6 run to take a 50-33 lead midway trough the fourth period, putting the game out of reach.

“I think it's a lack of consistency,” Ware-Berry said. “We kind of get on a run offensively, then we die down a little bit in defense. We kind of lapsed in a couple of moments, and that just gives a team like Holy Martyrs those big runs to push the lead on us. We've just got to be more consistent.”

Ware-Berry finished with 24 points and eight rebounds. With LoVett sidelined, the junior is now his team's top offensive option.

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