BURBANK- For teams playing Providence High’s boys’ basketball team, it’s no secret that containing Marcus LoVett, Jr. is the top priority. But that’s far easier said than done.
This was especially true as Providence took on visiting Sherman Oaks Notre Dame as part of the 2013 Pioneers Hoops Showdown Saturday night, when the sensational sophomore single-handedly outscored the visiting Mission League team through three quarters on the way to 48 points and a 69-61 victory.
“It helps when you have a single player who can take over the game at any time,” Providence Coach Ernest Baskerville said. “When he is warranting two and three and four people guarding him at one time and he can do what he does, it helps.”
After three quarters, LoVett, Jr., had 41 points and the Knights had 40, but, it was not a total one-man show, as LoVett’s teammates had also managed to score 12 points. At that point, Providence (5-12) led, 52-40.
“For me, [the key] was just getting the win,” LoVett, Jr., said. “We’ve been down a little bit and this is good for us. It’s a start.”
Notre Dame (8-10) mounted a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to one just past the halfway mark. Two free throws by Aaron Haigler pulled the Knights close at 61-58 with 2:56 left. However, immediately after that, LoVett, Jr., who consistently had to deal with multiple defenders, was fouled up top just past center court. He then dropped in two free throws for his final points of the contest.
“Whatever they give me I’m going to take it,” LoVett, Jr., said.
Event sponsor College Level Athletes, a local sports recruiting blog, compiled a highlight video of Lovett Jr,'s top 10 plays:
The Knights got within three again at 63-60 with 2:23 left, but LoVett, Jr.’s teammates stepped up and outscored the Knights 6-1 the rest of the way. Four came off of free throws and the other two off a pull-up jumper at the free-throw line by Christian Ware-Berry, who joined LoVett, Jr. - who was awarded the corporate-sponsored player of the game award - in double figures with 11 points. Jon Ly had three of those free throws and finished with nine points.
“Jon Ly stepped up and hit some key free throws,” Baskerville said.
LoVett, Jr., took it easy in the first quarter, letting the offense come to him, but still scored 11 points. The sophomore then took it to the Knights in the second quarter to the tune of 20 points. That included five in the final minute before halftime, as he sank an open three-pointer, got the defensive rebound on the other end, drove the court and finally pulled up with two defenders on him to hit a jumper as time expired. At the half, Notre Dame trailed the Pioneers, 40-31, while LoVett, Jr., led the Knights, 31-21.
“We’re happy to get a victory,” Baskerville said, “because it’s been a while. Their morale has been high the whole time, even though we’ve taken some losses, our morale has still been high.”