Boys Basketball: Defensive effort pushes Providence past Brother Rice
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media February 14, 2014 9:38PM
Providence's Miles Boykin (left) and Jack Brody secure a loose ball against Brother Rice. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:11AM
Cut the head off a snake and it dies. Stop a team’s leading scorer and the same thing is bound to happen.
That was the defensive mantra of Providence during a 67-53 Catholic League South win over Brother Rice on Friday in Chicago.
The Celtics’ defensive focus was stopping Brother Rice’s top scorer, Quinn Niego. The senior guard scored two points in the first and third quarters.
“I just tried to deny him because we knew he could shoot,” Providence senior Jack Brody said of Niego, who finished with 21 points, most of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Brody and Ryan Brankin shared the bulk of the defensive assignment against Niego in the Celtics’ man-to-man defense. Brody also was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points.
“I had a rough game the other night,” Brody said. “I tried to redeem myself (Friday) and my teammates got me open.”
Jake Roost added 12 points for Providence (11-11, 5-6), which outrebounded Brother Rice 37-18.
The Celtics earned a spot in the Catholic League’s Championship Division Tournament. Brother Rice (10-12, 4-7) will compete in the lower bracket. The tournament begins Sunday at the University of Chicago.
Troy Howe’s basket in the final 30 seconds allowed the Celtics to take an 18-8 lead after one quarter Friday.
“We could not have been more flat in the first quarter,” Brother Rice coach Rick Harrigan said. “Senior Night, I thought we would have played with more energy. They had a good game plan, stuck to it and kicked our butts on our home court.”
Jimmy Gallagher’s three-pointer cut the Celtics’ lead to 24-18 with 4:20 left in the second quarter. Providence scored the next seven points. Brody’s three-pointer gave the visitors a 31-18 lead with 3:01 left in the first half.
Providence took a 37-23 lead at the half. Brody’s three-pointer midway through the third quarter pushed the Celtics’ lead to 45-25. Seconds later, Miles Boykin’s steal and two-handed dunk made it 47-25.
Providence took a 38-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Brother Rice got no closer than 12 points the rest of the game.