Providence upsets No. 1 team

Jeff Tully

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.