The Encino Holy Martyrs School girls’ basketball team came into
its Liberty League game against Providence ranked No. 1 in CIF
Southern Section Division VAA.
The Pioneers are not ranked in the top 10 in any division.
So much for rankings.
Providence took control on its home floor Monday night and sent a
message to the league-leading Armens, as it saddled the visitors with
a 42-34 defeat.
“Rankings are always a tricky thing,” Providence Coach Andrew
Bencze said. “It’s just nice to be able to knock off a No. 1 team.”
Along with serving as a confidence booster for Providence (14-3,
5-1 in league), the win is essential to keep the Pioneers’ hopes for
a league championship alive.
“We are still hoping that we can get the league title,” said
Pioneer senior Selina Tech, who scored 11 points. “We know we have to
play hard the rest of the way so we can get another chance at [L.A.]
By way of the Holy Martyrs (15-4, 7-1) loss, Windward takes sole
possession of first place in the Liberty League. The Wildcats (14-2,
7-0) are ranked No. 2 in Division IVA.
Bencze said although his team will be looking forward to the Feb.
8 rematch at home against Windward, he wants to make sure the
Pioneers don’t look past any opponents along the way.
“All of our games are tough from now until the end of the season,”
said Bencze, whose team fell to the Wildcats on Jan. 7, 54-41. “We
realize the Windward game is important, but we still have to play
Holy Martyrs again [Feb. 10] at their place. So we can’t afford to
take any team lightly.”
Before finishing third in league last season, the Pioneers
captured four straight league championships.
In years past, Providence gained a reputation as primarily an
outside-shooting team. However, with 6-foot-4 junior center Megan
Campbell continuing to improve, the team also possesses a strong
inside game this season.
Against Holy Martyrs, Campbell continually out-reached the Holy
Martyrs players -- none of whom was taller than 5-11 -- to notch game
highs in points (14) and rebounds (15).
Along with Campbell’s offensive push, the Pioneer defense was able
to stifle the Holy Martyrs’ offensive at times. In the second
quarter, the Armens were outscored, 16-2.
After enjoying a comfortable cushion for most of the game, Holy
Martyrs made a run at the Providence lead in the fourth quarter.
A three-point play by Christine Raphaelian with 3:41 remaining got
the Armens to within one, 35-34.
However, behind the inspired play of Shannon Estreller and Hannah
Geralo down the stretch, the Pioneers were able to push back the
Holy Martyrs 12 2 11
9 -- 34
Providence 11 16 6
9 -- 42
Raphaelian 15 and 8 rebounds, Keutelian 7, Djigardian 6
and 8 rebounds, Yomassian 4, Berghoudian.
* Three-pointers: None.
Campbell 14 and 15 rebounds, Tech 11, Guzman 6 and 4
steals, S. Estreller 6, Geralo 3 and 8 rebounds, Arboleda 2.
* Three-pointers: Tech 2.