Landon Sprigler was in the right place at the right time for the Providence boys basketball team Saturday night.
Sprigler moved along the baseline and put up a shot with five seconds remaining in overtime that found its mark and lifted the Pioneers to a 57-55 win against Brownstown Central in a battle of ranked teams.
Brownstown’s Derek Rieckers drained a 3-pointer from the left wing with 52 seconds left in overtime to tie the game at 55.
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The Pioneers (19-2), ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, ran time off the clock until Sprigler hit the game-winner.
The Braves, who entered the game ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, called timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining to set up a play, but Carson Lambring’s shot from half-court bounced off the rim as the horn sounded, and Brownstown lost for the second time in five days after starting the season 19-0.
Both teams played strong defense throughout the opening quarter, resulting in very few open shots and a 10-9 lead for the visitors, before Providence moved on top 21-20 at the half.
“I thought we defended well enough in the first half to have some separation, but offensively, we didn’t move the basketball well enough, and we didn’t get the ball inside,” Braves coach Dave Benter said.
“At halftime, we talked about getting the ball inside, and we came out in the third quarter and on the very first possession, we got a kickout for a 3, and then we went about three and a half minutes without getting the ball inside,” he said. “We saw some things with their defense where we thought we could get the ball inside, get some skip passes and get some outside shooting from our post touches. We just had too many (scoreless) stretches.”
Providence scored seven straight points in the third quarter to move on top 28-23.
Rieckers followed with three straight baskets from close range to put the Braves on top 29-28, and a 3-pointer by Michael Boshears in the closing seconds put his team up 35-33 going into the fourth quarter.
The score was tied three times in the fourth quarter, and the Braves missed a shot at the buzzer to force overtime.
“Once we finally started scoring, it seemed like every possession, then we quit getting stops,” Benter said. “Sometimes, we were undisciplined defensively. We didn’t move our feet. We gambled. We had a hard time guarding them. Part of that, they’re a good basketball team, and part of that was our mistakes that we have to do a better job of.”
The Braves had balanced scoring with Rieckers leading the way with 12, Gavin Bane tallying 11 and Lambring and Cody Waskom each recording 10.
Juston Betz topped Providence with 16 points.
The Pioneers had a big advantage at the free throw line, making 16 of 28 compared to the Braves’ 6 of 10. Brownstown was called for 24 fouls, and Providence was whistled for 15.
The Braves made 19 of 44 shots from the floor to 18 of 43 for the Pioneers.
“Providence was letting the ball into the post,” Benter said. “They were having trouble guarding our post guys inside. They were doubling. We were having a tough time in the first half when we were running a normal offense of getting the ball inside.
“We’re probably more of a driving team than we are a feed-the-post type team,” he said. “Tonight, we thought that was our best option. I thought Jordan (Peters) and Derek did a really nice job when we got the ball into them finding cutters, finding 3-point shooters and scoring the basketball at times.”
Benter said he knew it was going to be a tough week with Class 4A No. 11 Floyd Central at home Tuesday, a conference game against Eastern (Pekin) on Friday night at home and going to Providence on Saturday.
“We knew this was a good week to get us ready for the sectional,” he said.
The Braves will finish their regular season Friday with a home game against Orleans.