BURBANK — In the first half of its CIF Southern Section Division V-AAA first-round game Wednesday evening, the Providence High boys’ basketball team appeared motivated and intense.
Playing against Garey, the Pioneers had all aspects of their game working, hitting three-pointers, getting points in the paint, playing a torrid up-tempo style and clamping down on defense.
In dominant fashion, Providence took a big lead in the first half and the rout was on, as the Pioneers earned a 94-51 home victory against the Vikings.
Providence (19-9), which finished third in the Independence League, earned a spot in Friday’s second round. The Pioneers will travel to take on Santa Maria (18-7). Santa Maria, the runner-up from the Los Padres League, defeated Rio Hondo Prep, 72-56, in its playoff opener Wednesday.
Providence catapults into the second round after decimating Garey (12-14), which placed third in the Miramonte League. The Pioneers converted 12 three-pointers, helped cause 20 turnovers and eight players scored in the game.
“I don’t want to say that we came into this game thinking that we were going to win, but we had confidence that we could play and do well against them,” Providence’s Jordan Shelley said. “We came out and everything seemed to be working for us and we just fed off that. We are motivated to try and go far in the playoffs and this is just the beginning for us.”
Providence’s Tevan Khudatyan led all scorers with 26 points, while Shelley contributed 23 with four three-pointers, Bryce Whitaker chipped in with 11 points and Collin Ferrell added 10.
“Tonight, I wanted to create a sense of urgency with them because it is the playoffs and it’s one and done, win or go home,” said Providence coach Brandon Lincoln, whose team’s 94 points is the biggest output of the season. “And today my team really brought it and I’m proud of them.
“I thought our guys really came out and they responded early on and they played as a team. You could tell they were ready to go and they brought an energy that I haven’t seen since the beginning of the season.”
The Pioneers forced six turnovers in the first quarter. Providence held a six-point lead, 13-7, in the opening minutes, but embarked on a 17-0 run, culminating with basket by AJ Bautista with 1:38 left, to increase the advantage to 30-7.
“Once we got going and got that lead early, that really helped boost our confidence,” Lincoln said. “And we were sharing the ball and we can do some good things when we’re doing that.
“In a tournament situation, you have got to defend. We have to adjust to different styles of play with teams we go against, but one thing that we can control is how we play defense.”
It was more of the same for the Pioneers in the second quarter where they forced eight turnovers. That helped Providence outscore Garey, 24-10, and it was able to go into halftime with a large cushion, 58-24.
In the third quarter, Lincoln cleared his bench and the Pioneers still scored 26 points and led 84-43 after three.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Garey received 19 points and six rebounds from Tyree Thomas.