With just one postseason victory in the history of the program, the
Providence High girls’ basketball team didn’t have an impressive
track record in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
However, led by a seasoned core of seniors, the Pioneers pushed
history aside Thursday and defeated Ventura St. Bonaventure, 50-43,
in a Division IVAA opening-round game at Providence.
The Pioneers will play at 7:30 tonight in a second-round game at
home. Providence will take on Cerritos Valley Christian (18-10),
which defeated Glendale Holy Family, 67-36, in its opener Thursday.
Expecting some opening-game playoff jitters from his players,
Providence Coach Andrew Bencze was instead amazed at the composure
his athletes showed in the early going against St. Bonaventure --
the second-place team from the Tri-Valley League.
“You never know what to expect in the first game of the playoffs,
nerves wise,” Bencze said. “But the girls walked out there confident
and I think that really helped us early on.”
The only other playoff win for the program came in 2000, when a
Bencze-coached team defeated North Hollywood Oakwood, 43-27, for the
Pioneers’ first CIF victory.
“It’s kind of nice to get the first game out of the way and get
the win,” Bencze said.
“It’s also nice that both of our basketball teams got wins in the
first round of the playoffs.”
The Providence boys’ team began the postseason on Wednesday with a
61-36 Division IVAA win against host Carpinteria.
Against St. Bonaventure (15-11), Providence came out pumped up, as
it went into attack mode in the first quarter.
The outside shooting of Selina Tech, combined with the inside play
of 6-foot-4 Megan Campbell, allowed Providence (20-4) to post a 17-3
lead late in the first quarter.
“With our four seniors on the floor, they really came out ready to
play,” Bencze said. “They set the tone for the game and after our big
lead, I don’t think [St. Bonaventure] was able to recover from that.”
Tech, a senior who has been a stalwart for the Pioneers for four
years, led all scorers with 20 points, including four three
Campbell, a junior, scored all of her eight points in the first
half, helping stake the Pioneers to a 27-19 lead at the half.
Campbell also had 10 rebounds and seven blocks.
St. Bon 7 12 8 16 -- 43
Providence 17 10 12 11 -- 50
Garza 9, As. Bennett 8, V. Cueto 8, Emard 4, Hershey 4, Ja. Cueto 3
and 3 blocks, Kemp 3 and 7 rebounds, Jolley 2, Hansen 2. *
Three-pointers: As. Bennett
Tech 20 , S. Estreller 9, Guzman 9, 7 rebounds and 5 assists,
Campbell 8, 10 rebounds and seven blocks, Tabrizi 2, 7 rebounds and 5
steals, Geraco 2. * Three-pointers: Tech 4, S. Estreller