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‘Hidden gem’ Joshuan McNeal helps push Providence-St. Mel past TEAM Englewood

02/01/2014, 5:05pm CST
By Michael O’Brien | mobrien@suntimes.com | @michaelsobrien

Joshuan McNeal scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots, plus played tough defense on Shartone Moore to lead Providence-St. Mel to a 59-45 victory against TEAM Englewood n Saturday in the On The Court For Cancer Shootout at Orr.

Public League White Division schools don’t get a lot of chances to step into the spotlight. Most of that is reserved for the Red Division. That’s why Saturday’s game against Providence-St. Mel in the On The Court For Cancer Shootout at Orr was such a big deal for TEAM Englewood.

The Eagles have star forward Shartone Moore and a capable supporting cast, but it wasn’t nearly enough to handle Providence-St. Mel. The Knights have played a tough schedule, including the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, and were able to easily handle TEAM Englewood in a 59-45 win.

Joshuan McNeal, a 6-4 senior, was the key. McNeal was physical with Moore, a 6-6 senior, early and Moore drifted out to the perimeter for the rest of the game.

“McNeal is a hidden gem,” Providence-St. Mel coach Tim Ervin said. “He’s a late bloomer. He played really well in the win over Marshall last week too.

McNeal scored 12, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots for the Knights (16-6). He’s been playing most of the season with a sprained left wrist.

“It happened before the Proviso West Tournament but I kept playing because my team said they needed me,” McNeal said. “It’s just starting to feel better now.”

Providence-St. Mel owned the second quarter, outscoring the Eagles 17-4.

“The team feels good right now,” Ervin said. “The defense really sets the tone. Everyone is believing what I’m saying, so that’s always good.”

Moore did manage to fill up the stat sheet. He had a rough first half with just four points but scored 16 in the second to finish with 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. He shot 6-for-20 from the field and 2-for-10 from three-point range.

“I didn’t know anything about him before the game,” McNeal said.” So I just played my normal game, Providence-St. Mel basketball. We are tough and grimey and just play defense.”

Tyler Turner scored 10 for the Knights and senior guard Tevin King added nine points and six rebounds.

Ashten Hilliard added 13 points for TEAM Englewood.

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