PROVIDENCE HIGH — While the Providence High girls' basketball team may not have felt at liberty to say it was the best squad in league prior to Saturday afternoon's showdown versus visiting Holy Martyrs, there's no need to hold back now.
That's because the Pioneers throttled the Armens, keeping them scoreless for nearly two quarters, in an impressive 39-23 Liberty League victory.
“When you look at the matchup, there was no one player on Holy Martyrs that was quicker than the girl defending her,” Providence Coach Andrew Bencze said. “Our whole game plan really wasn’t anything special.
“We just wanted to stay in front and not help too much and just keep them from scoring.”
Holy Martyrs (7-8 overall, 3-1 in league) scored the contest’s first bucket and later led, 4-2, at the 4:54 mark in the first after a running layup from sophomore Lara Karamardian off an assist from Ani Kechichian.
From that point forward, the Pioneers (16-2, 4-0) held the Armens scoreless for the next 15 minutes and 21 seconds.
By the time freshman Aline Tchorbajion knocked down a four-footer at the 3:45 mark in the third quarter, which broke a 27-0 run, the Armens trailed, 29-6.
Overall, Holy Martyrs shot zero for 10 in the second quarter and was zero for 22 between field goals.
“They got two easy buckets in the first when we picked it up on defense and played man-to-man and help side and they couldn’t really score,” Providence senior guard Catherine Saint said.
While Holy Martyrs couldn’t find a rhythm, the Pioneers made an emphasis in spreading out the scoring distribution, as six players scored in the second quarter alone and 11 players chipped in at least one point in the game.
“We never look at one girl and say, ‘Look, you’re our leading scorer,’ or like, ‘You need to score,’” Saint said. “We score anyway we can. It doesn’t matter if you never play or play a lot. If you can score, you’ll score.”
The Pioneers’ defense was more than just creating tough shots, as Providence forced 26 turnovers while committing 15.
After Tchorbajion scored, the Armens made a bit of a run, scoring five of the next six points and breathing a little life into the contest, down 30-11, at the 1:05 mark after an inside bucket from Karamardian, who was again assisted by Kechichian.
However, Providence answered back with a three-pointer from Kelly Castillo, assisted by Julie Chambers, that preceded a five-footer from Chambers off an assist from Chanelle Rodillas as time expired to push Providence ahead, 35-11, at the end of the third quarter.
“They’re a very good team and we knew it was going to be tough inside,” Holy Martyrs Coach Varant Vartabedian said. “We have a lot of respect for Providence because they could have run the score up to 80 points if they wanted to, but they didn’t.”
Saint led Providence with 10 points and five steals, while Bea Benedicto added six points for the Pioneers.
Karamardian led all scorers with 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.