Lion girls, Storm boys end losing skids

DACULA — A pair of three-game losing streaks came to an end on Saturday night.

Hebron girls, which had dropped their last three, got off to a fast start against Region 8-A rival Providence only to see the Storm surge back before holding on for a 43-39 win, putting to rest a three-game losing skid.

On the boys side, Providence hit nine 3-pointers to pull away for a 66-57 win, avenging losses it suffered in the last three meetings against Hebron.

“This was good for our team,” Providence girls head coach Meredith Drake said. “The energy we’ve been missing at the end of games was there tonight and we pulled it out.”

The night looked like Hebron was going to run Providence out of the gym as the Lions (11-7, 5-7) ran out to a 16-2 lead.

Strong shooting was the key to that early run as Hebron hit its first seven shots. The bulk of those came from Hannah Lentz, who scored 11 in the opening frame.

Staring at a possible blowout, Providence head coach Brad Roby was able to settle his team down. That allowed his group to focus on defense and rebounding, two strengths of his young team.

“We’ve been working on poise and composure and that’s what we had to do in the second quarter tonight,” Roby said.

“We didn’t panic. We started boxing out and hitting the boards which is key for us because we’re not a strong shooting team and we need to limit our opponent in their second chance shots.”

By halftime, Providence had claimed a one-point lead at 19-18. Four different players scored for the Storm in the second, while the Providence defense cooled off Hebron and held the Lions to two points in the period.

From that point, it was back and forth with the lead changing hands 10 times. The last of those came with 45 seconds left to play when Lentz came up with a steal and drove the length of the court for a layup to put Hebron up for good at 40-39.

Lentz finished with 20 points to lead all scorers, while Ashleigh Stanley added 11 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Lions.

Providence was led by 14 points from Megan Parker. Also having a solid night for the Storm were Allison Brooks with nine points, Brittany Tuttle with eight points and Laura Per Lee with six points, five rebounds and five blocks.

The Providence boys received 23 points and 11 rebounds from Steven Kleinschmidt as the Storm topped Hebron 66-57.

The win was the eighth in a row for Providence (12-9, 8-2) and put it in a tie for second place in the subregion with Hebron.

“This was a big one for us,” Providence boys head coach Norman Brown said. “We knew it was going to be a big crowd here with them being one of our rivals.”

Along with Kleinschmidt, Providence guard Duncan Gotfredson brought in a big night as he hit five 3-pointers en route to a 19-point night.

Five of those treys came in the third quarter, with the last of those coming with two seconds left in the period to put the Storm up by 10 at 48-38.

“I asked one of our coaches at halftime why can’t Duncan hit a couple in a row?” Brown said. I knew if he could do that, he’ll get some momentum for our team.”

Down by 10 at the start of the fourth, Hebron (13-9, 10-2) fought its way back behind the scoring of Cory Johnson.

Johnson, who led all players with 24 points, scored 14 of those in the fourth, pulling his team to within four at 54-50 with 4:06 left to play with a 3-pointer from the left wing.

But that was as close as the Lions would get as Kleinschmidt countered with nine points of his own in the fourth.

“It was a really well played game,” Hebron head coach Will Cantrell said, who played prep basketball at Providence. “Give Providence credit because they hit shots and played extremely well and deserved to win.”

Providence also received a solid night from Abj Kushanu with eight points and five assists, while Thomas Swift added 13 points and six rebounds for Hebron.