Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Defense Lifts Stallions in State Semis; Bryant Scores 23 as Providence Stifles Archbishop Carroll

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Defense Lifts Stallions in State Semis; Bryant Scores 23 as Providence Stifles Archbishop Carroll

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Barney

LAKELAND | Jim Martin knew the points would come.

But if the Providence boys basketball team had any hope of playing for a state championship, it had to step up and play some good, old-fashioned defense.

The Stallions delivered just that in a dominant third quarter and beat Miami Archbishop Carroll 67-48 in the Class 4A state semifinals on Wednesday morning at the Lakeland Center. The Stallions (25-5) will play for the state title on Friday at 8 p.m. against Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy (28-4).

Providence has gone to the state championship game three times since 2010 and won each time, its last coming in 2015. Martin, the longtime Stallions coach, said that's an "awesome" accomplishment for his program, although history doesn't take the court and won't matter against Westminster. The teams have already met this season, a 62-60 Providence loss back in November. The Stallions have won 16 consecutive games entering the title game.

"That doesn't mean anything, it's what we do Friday night when you cross over the lines," Martin said of Providence's record in title games.

"I could win 10 of these in the championship game. But when it comes to Friday night at 8, here's the question: Are we going to go out there for the 70 plays that we're going to play? Seventy plays, 35 on offense, 35 on defense, and in the moment, are we going to beat these guys, in the moment? From one play to the next. ... We're not going to be perfect, but we're trying to stay in that moment of winning that one battle."

Instead of making any substantial changes at halftime of a two-point game, Martin gave the Stallions a task.

Take away the easy stuff. Smother the Bulldogs any time they touched the ball. Keep dominating on the glass. If Providence was going to get by a scrappy, physical and good-shooting Bulldogs squad, it had to forget about shots and lock down and play defense.

"He challenged our manhood a little bit in the locker room," said guard Zack Bryant, a UAB signee who led the Stallions with 23 points. "In my mind, I felt like it could be anyone's game coming out in the second half. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.