TC’s Province finishing up monster year

In any business, there’s usually that one leader.

She’s the one you call in when times get tough. The one you call to straighten things out.

The one who strikes fear in people.

Basketball and business are different, but not all that different.

Columbian basketball isn’t a store or a corporation, but it does have someone who strikes fear in people.

Call her the executive VP, Valesha Province.

Even with his team up double digits and the fourth quarter clock running down, Norwalk coach Brock Manlet admitted he never felt comfortable.

As long as Columbian had Province, a comeback always was possible.

“You could have three straight possessions where she hits a 3, and that’s nine points,” Manlet said after the Truckers beat the Tornadoes Saturday. “It could be in the blink of an eye.”

Province wasn’t able to lead a comeback Saturday. But with her regular season numbers, she has gained a reputation as one of the best offensive players in the Northern Ohio League.

The junior has really good numbers. She’s scored 436 points this year, an average of almost 21 a game. Three times she’s scored more than 30 points in a game. She tied Columbian’s single game record for points in December, then broke the record Monday with a 40-point effort at Upper Sandusky.

But the numbers are only part of the story.

Province is the type of player who – if you give her any space – she’ll shoot, and she’ll usually make.

In Saturday’s game, Columbian won the tipoff. Seconds later, Province went to the left wing, fired and made.

Manlet’s quote about Province making three 3’s in a row isn’t hyperbole. Province has done it. And even though the Tornadoes only have won three games this year, Province has been key in making most of their games interesting to watch.

Down 12 late to Shelby? It’s not over.

Down 19 to in the fourth to Upper Sandusky? There’s still a chance.

You just never know when Valesha will go off.

Province is more than just a scorer. Six times this year she’s collected double digit rebounds, and she finished the season with 71 steals.

But it’s her offense – and especially her 3-point shooting – that makes her stands out. She made 38 percent of her attempted treys this year; she had six in Mondays game against the Rams.

Columbian and Province will be sure to get a challenge Tuesday night in Old Fort, when they play Clyde in the sectional semifinal.

The Fliers have lost only once this season, and are ranked fourth in Division II.

And it’s possible that Indiana commit Amanda Cahill – one of the best players in northwest Ohio – will guard Province.

It will be a tall order.

But that’s why you have an executive VP.

Zach Baker is the sports editor for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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