LA CAÑADA —With intensity and hustle on their side, the Providence High boys’ basketball team pushed closer to the .500 mark this season at the expense of host Flintridge Prep, which fell further away from that standard Wednesday evening.
The visiting Pioneers also snapped a three-game losing streak before the start of Liberty League play en route to a 57-48 victory in nonleague action at the Crawford Family Gymnasium.
“A big part of our success has come from and will have to continue to come from our extra energy and extra effort,” Providence first-year Coach Chris Madigan said. “If you look at our team, we’re definitely not the biggest or most athletic group out there.
“In fact, we need to do everything right to help ourselves out and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Pioneers (4-5), who open league action at Holy Martyrs Armenian on Saturday, boasted three players in double figures, led by senior guard Josias Parker, who paced all players with 21 points.
Providence led on a few occasions by as many as 16 points before the Rebels (3-9) made a late surge and pulled with 51-44 with 2:24 remaining on a rare four-point play from sophomore Andrew Tsangeos (10 points and six rebounds).
The Rebels forward drilled a straightaway three-pointer, was fouled on his follow through by Pioneers sophomore guard Brian Cabagnot (nine points and six steals), and then hit his subsequent free throw.
To make matters more interesting, the free throw was followed by consecutive quick misses from Providence on its next two possessions, as the Pioneers took back-to-back jumpers within the first 15 seconds of the shot clock.
Fortunately for Providence, Flintridge Prep did not take advantage, instead committing two consecutive turnovers on its following two offensive series.
With a little more than a minute left, the Rebels began to foul the Pioneers in attempt to force a one-on-one bonus.
After four consecutive fouls from the Rebels, Pioneers senior guard John Li (12 points) was eventually awarded two free throws with 59.6 seconds left and drained both of his attempts to put Providence ahead, 53-44.
Flintridge Prep’s last chance to get back into the game may have been given away when Parker stole possession at half-court and coasted the other way for an unabated layup with 38.5 seconds left that gave the Pioneers an 11-point lead and sealed the game.
“I think we were just quicker than they were and set up our offense faster,” Parker said. “We were all about dishing and finding good shots.”
Providence’s offensive efficiency was more than just taking good shots, however, as the Pioneers only committed five turnovers in comparison to the Rebels tallying six turnovers in the fourth quarter alone and 15 overall.
Providence led, 42-32, after three quarters and scored the first three points of the fourth when Parker rebounded a missed jumper from Flintridge Prep’s Jake Althouse (eight points and five rebounds) and raced downcourt before finishing with a reverse layup while being fouled by Stefan Chraghchian.
Parker sank his free throw to put the Pioneers ahead by 13.
Flintridge Prep fell behind by as many as 14 points in the fourth before a 9-2 run brought the Rebels within 51-44.
Flintridge Prep’s biggest deficit came at the 5:10 mark in the second quarter when Parker again criss-crossed his defender and finished with a backdoor layup to put the Pioneers up, 23-8.
Parker’s bucket came on a second-chance opportunity for the Pioneers, who owned the offensive glass, 14-7.
Providence guard Jayson Batungbacal also added 11 points for his squad.
Flintridge Prep did trim its deficit a bit before the half in trailing, 31-19, after Scott Tsangeos (team-high 11 points) connected on an inside basket with 18 seconds remaining in the second.
Yet, that was small comfort for Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara.
“I don’t really know how to explain what’s been going on at home for us lately. The energy and effort for us have been low and I’m disappointed all around,” said Ohara, whose team opens Prep League action at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. versus archrival Pasadena Poly.
“I’m not as concerned with the loss as I am with how we played on both sides of the ball. It just seems like Providence wanted the game more than we did and I don’t know why.”