BURBANK — The Providence High boys’ basketball team looked to get back to its pace against Price in the Providence Pioneer Showcase on Saturday.
Though the Pioneers and Knights were tied midway in the first quarter, Providence’s pressure started to give the hosts momentum.
Providence made a run in the second quarter and had a strong finish to the third quarter as four of its five starters finished in double-digit scoring for a 77-56 win against Price.
“That’s the kind of basketball that we want to play,” Providence coach Brandon Lincoln said. “We score in the 70’s, I believe, and we want to get everybody involved, not one guy doing all the scoring and all the load, but having multiple guys in double figures. Everybody should be ready and contribute with our starters.
“We just want to keep climbing the ladder. We hit a rough patch and faced some adversity and lost some games in a couple of tournaments. We just wanted to get back to playing good basketball. We’re playing confident. Everybody’s in there really contributing and we’re ready to go to compete in the Prep League.”
Providence senior Jordan Shelley led the scoring with 17 points, followed by senior Andrew Dabbaghian with 12, with eight from the first quarter. Pioneers senior pair Bryce Whitaker and A’Jahni Levias each added 10 points. Levias also had nine rebounds.
“We came out wanting to win really badly because this was a game that was important to us,” Shelley said. “It was almost like a statement game, really. Our coaches told us to focus because it was important moving forward from here on out because we had a rough patch.”
Knights senior Morgan Brewer led Price with 23 points with 12-of-13 free-throw shooting. The forward also had 11 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end, and four blocks.
Providence (11-5) got on the board early with a three-pointer from Dabbaghian, who knocked down another shot from the perimeter for a 6-2 lead at 6:38 in the opening quarter.
A basket at 4:23 gave the Pioneers a six-point lead before the Knights erased the deficit to tie it at 12 with 2:41 left in the quarter.
“We knew Price was going to be a competitive team,” Lincoln said. “They came into this game with a 13-2 record. They scored over 100 points in several games this season, so I knew they were a capable team. I’m very familiar with their coach and he’s been doing a great job with the team, so we came into this game with a lot of respect for Price because we knew how hard they were going to play. I wanted to keep our guys engaged and alert with anything they can potentially throw at us.”
Shelley made a few trips to the free-throw line as the Pioneers regained its lead and closed the opening quarter outscoring the Knights, 8-2, to lead, 20-14.
“Communication,” said Shelley on the tight first-quarter contest. “The more we talked, the better the pace got. We want to play fast, but we also want to play smart, and I think when we talk, that’s the best way to do it.”
The Pioneers picked up the pace to start the second quarter with a trio of full-court inbound passes and extended their lead to 28-18 on the back of a lay-up and a three-point play from Shelley.
After Knights senior Elijah Mark cut it back to an eight-point deficit for the Knights (13-3), the Pioneers scored 11 straight to take a 39-20 lead with 2:34 left in the half.
Price began to chip away at the Providence lead before the half ended, but a three-pointer from senior Collin Ferrell (nine points) at the buzzer gave the Pioneers a 46-28 halftime advantage.
A back-hand lay-up from Shelley gave the Pioneers a 50-30 cushion early in the third, and Providence closed out the quarter on a 13-2 scoring run for a 67-39 lead.
A pair of free throws from Levias established Providence’s largest lead, 73-43, with 4:29 left in regulation.
Providence will begin its Prep League title defense on Friday against visiting Flintridge Prep.