Wolves hold off Stars

NORCROSS -- Toughened by games against larger schools, the Wesleyan boys are unbeaten against fellow Class A teams.

The seventh victory didn't come easily, though.

"Providence Christian beat us everywhere except on the scoreboard," Wesleyan coach Skip Matherly said.

Down by six points in the third quarter and not playing with its normal sense of urgency, No. 5-ranked Wesleyan finally took charge in the fourth quarter for a 61-56 victory over visiting Providence in a Region 7-A North game Friday night at Yancey Gymnasium.

The Wolves, 12-4 overall and 3-0 in the sub-region, are used to close games and facing tough teams. They have played nine times against AAAAA, AAAA and AAA schools, going 5-4.

"This is why you play those games," Matherly said. "We're used to having to battle against teams that are bigger or better than us. That's how you get better yourself."

Wesleyan showed it was battle tested down the stretch, taking the lead for good on a basket by Andrew Frerking off a feed from Wes Caver with just over a minute remaining. Frerking then made two free throws with 37.6 seconds left and Caver cashed two more with 14.6 seconds remaining.

Frerking, who hit a trio of 3-pointers, led the Wolves with 17 points. Caver and Ty Teague each made two 3-pointers, Caver finishing with 13 points and Teague adding 12. Griffin Schamp, averaging 18 points, was held to nine, while Shane Smith had nine rebounds and four assists.

Peter Hage had a game-high 18 points for Providence, which is 9-5 overall and 0-1 in 7-A North. Sophomore point guard Nate Bucher had 12 points and five assists, and Allen Skinner had 10 rebounds and nine points.

"We thought that our guards would be a tough match up and we wanted to take it right at them," first-year Providence coach Ivan Iverson said. "We did a good job of driving the ball."

But Providence saw Wesleyan erase that six-point deficit in the third quarter on a pair of 3-pointers by Frerking and then go up by seven in the fourth quarter on a 3-point shot by Teague. The Stars fought back, though, tying the game at 55 before Wesleyan regained control in the final minute.

"A couple of plays were the difference," Iverson said. "We're a young team and we're still learning."

Down 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, Wesleyan led by as many as five points in the second period before going into intermission up 29-26 on Caver's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Providence had four 3-pointers, two by Bucher, compared to Wesleyan's seven from behind the arc.

"Give Providence a lot of credit, because they played very hard," Matherly said. "But I'm proud of my team for the way it was able to come back. That's what a good team does."