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Pioneers can’t take next step

Jim Riggio

PROVIDENCE HIGH -- Meeting team goals is something the Providence

High girls’ basketball team has focused on this season.

The Pioneers accomplished one goal by notching 20 victories, and


another by winning only the second CIF Southern Section playoff game

in the program’s history.

However, getting past the second round of the Division IVAA

playoffs was one task the Pioneers could not accomplish, as they were


defeated, 62-27, Saturday by Cerritos Valley Christian at Providence


“You always come into the year setting high goals, and these kids

sacrifice so much of their time not knowing what is going to

happen,” Providence Coach Andrew Bencze said. “For this group of

seniors to go 20-5, and win a playoff game, was huge.”

Providence struggled against a team that has been among the top

Division IV programs in the state every year.


Cerritos Valley Christian (19-10) has won 25 league championships

and nine CIF Southern Section crowns under Coach Eleanor Dykstra, who

is in her 30th year. Dykstra picked up her 600th career win earlier

this season.

Although the Crusaders came into the game with 10 losses, they

were defeated twice each by Lakewood Mayfair, Van Nuys Montclair Prep

and Brentwood, as well as Lake Forest El Toro and Anaheim Canyon --

all ranked teams. The Crusaders also posted wins over large public


schools Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, Newport Beach Newport Harbor,

Irvine and Downey Warren.

While the Providence loss was a tough ending to a fine season,

Bencze had to make an even tougher decision prior to the game.

The Providence coach dismissed two players from the team after the

pair decided to attend a voluntary school field trip this week. The

players planned to attend the field trip, even if it meant they might

miss a possible playoff game.

“I’ve been coaching since 1990, and I’ve only been disappointed

once before in my players,” Bencze said. "[The two players] simply

chose to go on a trip and it wasn’t mandatory. I let them make the

choice themselves.”

Without the missing players, the Pioneers seemed out of step.

Senior guard Selina Tech, who has been Providence’s bright spot all

season, ended her career with a team-high six points.

“Selina, is in my opinion, is the best player to have ever played

here,” Bencze said.

Junior Megan Lovingier finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and

eight steals to lead the Crusaders.

Megan Campbell finished with five points and eight rebounds for

the Pioneers.





Valley Christian 21 16 15 10 -- 62

Providence 5 12 3 7 -- 27




Lovingier 23, 12 rebounds and 8 steals, Weaver 13 and 8 rebounds,

Miller 7, Davis 4, Verhoeven 4, Melillo 3, Vander Wal 3, Swain 3,

Session 2. * Three-pointers: Lovingier, Melillo, Swain


Tech 6, Campbell 5 and 8 rebounds, Geralo 3, Guzman 1, Scroth 5,

Kattengil 5, Arboleda 2. * Three-pointers: Geralo, Kattengil,

Scroth, Tech