BURBANK — Next season, the Providence High girls’ basketball team will return seven players.
It’s already provided plenty of optimism for Providence Coach Andrew Bencze, who guided the squad to a Liberty League championship and an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division IV-A quarterfinals last season. Bencze said he was intrigued to see how the Pioneers would jell during the summer, perhaps further elevating their confidence.
Providence closed out the summer season on the right note Thursday, as Katia Dabbaghian and Deanna Nazarian scored 11 points apiece to pace the Pioneers to a 37-23 win against St. Genevieve in a Providence Summer League contest.
“We’ve go a lot of returners on their way back and we wanted to use this summer as a way to continue to build,” said Bencze, a former All-Area Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year honoree. “The goals coming into the season are to win our league and CIF.
“During the summer, we try to go from being a good team to a great team and make sure the players keep at it and learn. You have to continue to try to master all of the tiny pieces of the game, from defense, to rebounding to screening out and pick and roll. We got a lot of things done in the summer and I like where we are at.”
Providence also got nine points from Tabitha Taylan. Dabbaghian, a reigning all-league, All-CIF and All-Area pick, Nazarian and Taylan combined to score 31 points to help Providence turn aside St. Genevieve.
Dabbaghian and Nazarian will be senior guards next season and will be expected to shoulder most of the scoring responsibilities.
“They both had good summers,” said Bencze, who has led the Pioneers to five league championships in a row. “They are a very good combination and you know they will go out there and do a great job.
“They know how to find each other and they know how to get the other players on the team involved.”
Nazarian and Dabbaghian provided a glimpse of what the Pioneers and their opponents might expect to see next season with strong performances Thursday.
Nazarian made a pair of three-pointers within a four-minute span in the first half. Her first gave the Pioneers a 7-3 lead with 15:40 left. She then made another long jump shot to provide Providence with a 12-3 lead with 11:40 left. Dabbaghian, who has secured All-CIF accolades in each of her first three seasons, made a layup to extend Providence’s lead to 16-4 with 9:33 remaining in the first half.
“My role is to try to score and keep the ball moving around,” said Dabbaghian, who made a three-pointer to give Providence a 25-11 advantage with 17:15 remaining in the game. “I look to try to get the other players shots.
“I think my shooting has improved. I’m also trying to become a better leader.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .