CLARKSVILLE — As it turns out, the 2012 Class 2A regional champions will get to play one more game together.
The 2011-12 Providence boys’ basketball team last competed in a losing effort at semistate against the eventual state champions, Park Tudor. But the team will suit up together on Thursday to face the squad that first won a regional championship in 2007.
“The idea just comes from the fact that I just really want our present team to know the alumni players who came before them,” Providence head coach Lou Lefevre said. “I want the players to know who they were, what they did, how they played and what they got started in our program back in the day.”
But this game will also help keep the elder statesmen of Providence basketball fame connected with the school, Lefevre said.
“I want the alumni guys to know today’s players, the players on today’s team now, and I want to have them stay engaged with what’s going on in our program,” Lefevre said. “I think we pretty much have that, but I think this kind of enhances it a bit more. And it’s a chance for the present team to mesh with the past teams and the alumni and to keep everybody who’s been in our basketball community over the last 6-7 years engaged with just a nice, fun night.”
The game will literally pit men against boys. The star players of the 2007 team — names like Justin Benedetti and Johnell Hardin — have gone on to attain success at the collegiate level, with Benedetti most notably leading Bellarmine to an NCAA Division II national championship in 2011.
“Obviously, looking at the two teams, the 2007 team is the age of men who would be entering the NBA if they were on that level. So these are guys who are 22, 23, and they’re men. They’ll be playing against kids who are just high school kids, but I’m hoping the great equalizer is going to be how horribly out of shape the 2007 players might be,” Lefevre joked. “And maybe that will be the thing that makes it equally competitive. But we’ll have to see about that. I know a lot of guys on the 2007 team play a lot of ball still.”
The 2012 squad won’t be without advantages of its own. The players have played together — for several years, in the case of some — and will likely have a better team chemistry on the court.
And that same 2012 team was second in the state in defense, boasting three forwards who can get after it in George Knott, Ryan Pickerrell and Dalton Duly, along with two of the best passing guards in the area in Colin Daly and Bryce Very.
But no matter who wins the game, Lefevre believes that the Providence community will be the real winner.
“I always talk about people on (the 2007) team and people on this year’s team being the Legends of Providence, and you just get a chance to go see them play and play against each other,” Lefevre said. “I think it’s going to be a fun night.”
LEGENDS OF PROVIDENCE BASKETBALL GAME
2007 Regional Champions vs. 2012 Regional Champions
WHERE: Robert I. Larkin Center, Providence High School
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
SUGGESTED DONATION: $5 adults, $3 students