Photo: David McGregor Providence Christian's Robbie Clark tries to get a shot off over Mountian View's Nick Bryant and Ty McRae during Mountian View's 52-49 victory over Providence at Lanier High School on Thursday.
SUGAR HILL --The close losses have piled up the past few seasons for the Mountain View boys basketball team, making them harder to count than the more sparse victories.
But the Bears didn't let another tight game slip away Thursday night.
A fourth-quarter surge carried youthful Mountain View to a 52-49 win over Providence Christian in the Lanier Christmas Tournament, giving the Bears their second victory of the season --the other was Nov. 20 over Chestatee. It also matched their win total from last season's 2-24 struggle.
"It was a teachable moment for our guys, to learn how to win," Mountain View boys coach Kyle Keefer said. "Learning how to win a close game is important for a very young, inexperienced team like us."
Keefer's team could have panicked with the way things went late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Providence (3-6) trailed throughout, but an 8-0 run gave the Storm a 45-41 lead early in the fourth. Instead of fading late, the Bears held Providence scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
That defense, coupled with Andre Joseph and Deante Harris each going 2-for-2 at the free-throw line in the final 40 seconds, was good enough for a confidence-boosting victory.
"We found a way to win," said Keefer, whose team improved to 2-7. "That's what you need to do as a young team. You have to make plays down the stretch."
Joseph, the team's leading scorer, made plenty of plays throughout. The sophomore guard, who averaged less than 10 points, scored a game-high 22 and also grabbed seven rebounds. He made 10 of 12 free throws and hit a pair of important 3-pointers.
Mike Jenkins, one of only two Mountain View seniors in the rotation, scored all nine of his points in the second half. He had a big four-point play late in the third quarter that slowed down the Storm's momentum.
Ty McRae also grabbed seven rebounds and battled hard inside against a taller Providence lineup.
The Storm got 14 points and five rebounds from Steven Kleinschmidt and 11 points and 11 rebounds from Connor Jones, two taller players who led their team's third-quarter charge. Robbie Clark added 11 points for Providence while Charlie Scott had an off night offensively with seven points, though he did have four assists.