LILBURN — After Stephen Kleinsmchmidt’s 3 gave Providence its first lead since the second quarter, it looked as though the Storm were poised to finish a miraculous comeback and take home a one-point victory over rival Hebron.
Derek Vandiver had other plans, however, as the lone senior on the floor for the Lions hit a 3 of his own with 10 seconds left to give Hebron a 60-58 win over Providence.
“We gave the ball to our guard Cory Johnson and told him to make a good decision,” Hebron head coach Will Cantrell said. “He drove in and found Derek at the top of the key and he hit a huge shot.”
The theatrics were necessary after a furious push from the Storm erased a 16 point Hebron lead. Providence started the game out strong, with Anthony Kushanu scoring eight of the game’s first 10 points and the Storm led 10-2. Their lead would be cut to 14-11 by the end of the first, and that is when the three point shooting for Hebron began to heat up. The Lions made eight three pointers in the game, three of which came in the second quarter, and they led 25-21 at the half.
“Three point shooting is kind of our bread and butter,” Cantrell said. “It makes us a fun team to watch, but also a frustrating team to watch when they aren’t falling.”
Hebron (5-3, 2-0) started the third quarter just as strong as the second and built a 42-26 lead. Providence head coach Norman Brown Jr. called a timeout and told his team they needed to pick up the defensive intensity. From there the full court press of the Storm wreaked havoc and Providence ended the quarter on an 11-0 run to pull within five to start the fourth.
“We started the game out so well and then we got lazy,” Brown said. “The intensity we played with in the third quarter to bring the game close, that’s how we need to play all the time. We laid back a little and they took advantage.”
Hebron kept the lead between four and seven for much of the third quarter, but finally it was Providence’s chance to hit some threes. Duncan Gotfredson and Bobby Rodgers hit two big threes in the final minutes to pull the Storm within two. Then with 30 seconds and remaining, Kushanu drove into the lane and drew the defense away from Kleinsmchmidt, who made the Lions pay with a clutch three from the corner to give his team a one point lead.
The Storm fans exploded, chanting the popular “I believe that we will win” cheer as Cantrell called timeout. That set the stage for Vandiver’s heroics.
“Credit to them for fighting back,” Cantrel said. “They hit some big shots and we made some mistakes. We are such a young team, so to get a win like this that we can also coach so well from, that was huge for us.”
Vandiver finished with 17 points to lead the Lions while Johnson had 16. Kushanu led all scorers with 19 points and also had five assists, while Kleinsmchmidt and Rodgers each had 12 points.
Hebron girls 39,
Hebron’s girls basketball team defeated Providence 39-25 on Friday night behind 17 points from Ashleigh Stanley.
Hebron (7-1, 1-1) played tremendous, physical defense for most of the night and even held the Storm without a single point for the entire second quarter. After Hebron held an 8-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter, the lockdown defense and rebounding allowed the Lions to outscore Providence 8-0 and take a 16-7 lead into the half.
“I think our defense is one of the strong points of our team,” Hebron head coach Merideth Drake said. “Ashleigh was a big part of that. She only made one 3 tonight. Most of her points came off of steals.”
Providence (3-4, 0-1) got the offense going in the second half, but Stanley and Jozie Lewis proved to be too much for the Storm to handle. Lewis finished with 11 points.
“Jozie has really come a long way,” Drake said. “We have been trying to teach her a couple more moves and really take her game to the next level.
Providence was led by Megan Parker with 11 points while Laura Per-Lee had six.