HERRIMAN — A couple of unsung heroes for Providence Hall took the pressure of its customary big guns in a critical early-January Region 14 showdown with Delta on Wednesday.
Sophomore Griffin Henrie and freshman Merrick Sherwood both buried three 3-pointers — including a combined five in the first half — as Providence Hall built a 20-point lead in the first half and then held on for the 66-51 victory to improve to 4-0 in region play.
The early 3s forced Delta to sag out of its 2-3 zone defense, which then allowed Providence Hall’s big men to have some room to work inside. Leading scoring Marcus Sherwood stayed patient throughout the game and finished with 19 points and 19 rebounds, while Dallin Dodge chipped in with eight points.
“When we saw they were running that 2-3 zone and packing it in tight on us we had to spread it out with those corner shooters, and luckily we had a sophomore and a freshman come in and knock down some big 3s and really open it up,” said Providence Hall coach Blake Pugmire.
Merrick Sherwood sank two early 3s to keep it close at 13-12 late in the first quarter, but the rest of the half belonged to the Patriots.
Aided by three 3-pointers from Henrie during a three-minute stretch spanning the first and second quarters, Providence Hall stretched its lead to 24-13 early in the second quarter. It didn’t let up either pushing the lead to as many as 20 before going into the halftime locker room up 39-21.
As efficient as Providence Hall was offensively in that opening half, it was equally as good defensively limiting Delta to 25 percent shooting (6 of 24) and forcing 11 turnovers.
“We knew they had two really good players, and they go the way they go and we had to shut them down,” said Pugmire. “We came up with three different types of defenses we wanted to try and run at them, give different looks to them so they didn’t get into a rhythm.”
The second half was an entirely different story against a desperate Delta squad.
With Delta forced to press and trap the entire second half to try and fight back into the game, Providence Hall buckled under the pressure often turning it over 18 times in the second half — finishing the game with 25 turnovers.
All those turnovers helped Delta close to 49-39 by the end of the quarter. It cut the lead to seven points on two different occasions in the fourth quarter on 3-pointers from Derek Smith and Bradyn Nielson.
It had chances to chip further into the lead, but on a night when Delta shot 29 percent from the field, the shots just weren’t dropping with any consistency.Comment on this story
Providence Hall did most of its damage in the second half from the free throw line connecting on 19 of 28 attempts which helped keep Delta at arm’s length despite all those turnovers.
“That’s something we need to work on handling pressure better, taking better care of the ball, moving when teammates are getting trapped. It’s good cause it gives us something to work on in practice, we know we’re not where we need to be in the state tournament,” said Pugmire.
In the loss, Delta’s Smith finished with 21 points, with Nielson adding 14.