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Potter's House knocks off top-ranked Providence

Posted: January 29, 2014 - 1:36am  |  Updated: January 29, 2014 - 1:39am
Potter's House's Jahyde Gardiner (right) drives past Providence's LaDarien Griffin and heads to the basket during the first half of Tuesday night's showdown.  GARY McCULLOUGH/For the Times-Union
GARY McCULLOUGH/For the Times-Union
Potter's House's Jahyde Gardiner (right) drives past Providence's LaDarien Griffin and heads to the basket during the first half of Tuesday night's showdown.

The Potter’s House basketball team is getting good at knocking off area basketball royalty.

The Lions held on for a 63-61 win over Providence on Tuesday night, dodging a 3-point attempt from Duke signee Grayson Allen at the buzzer to claim their second marquee win over a city team in the past eight days.

An overflow crowd, more than 300 of whom had to watch the game through a television feed in an adjacent building, saw the Lions use a dominant inside game to cool down one of the best teams in the country. With a victory over the Stallions (20-4), ranked No. 1 in Class 3A in the FABC-Source Hoops state poll and in the top 10 nationally, Lions coach Steven McLaughlin sees his program pushing itself into the best-in-the-city conversation.

“That’s a program-changing win right there,” McLaughlin said.

They’ve already knocked off Ribault and now the Stallions, yet one big test remains — Arlington Country Day on Feb. 11. McLaughlin said the Lions (20-2) changed up their game plan, throwing a ‘diamond 2’ defense at Providence — three players sealing off the paint and the other two trying to smother Allen and Florida Gulf Coast signee Christian Terrell. Allen led all players with 28 points. Terrell had just five points.

Potter’s House took a 58-48 lead with less than two minutes to play, taking advantage of a ragged stretch of basketball by the Stallions. Providence went more than six minutes without a point before Allen nearly overcame the deficit by himself. He scored 10 of the Stallions’ final 13, including a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds left to shave the deficit to 62-61. Providence fouled immediately and Oliver Joshua hit one of two foul shots. He jumped back on defense to try and slow down Allen, whose 3-point attempt was off to the right. It was just Providence’s fourth loss to an area program since the 2008-09 season, with three of those to ACD.

The biggest takeaway for coach Jim Martin — the Stallions have to find ways to compensate in other areas against bigger, stronger bodies in the paint. Six-foot-10 sophomore Udoka Azubuike and 6-8 Joshua caused all sorts of problems in the paint.

“Those kids are as athletic as anybody we’ve played,” Martin said. “We haven’t seen that kind of size all year, except maybe [Chicago] Whitney Young.”

Justin Barney: (904) 359-4248