Third-quarter troubles lead to Providence boys' basketball loss to Crossroads

BURBANK — The second quarter of Friday night's CIF Southern Section Division IV-A playoff contest offered a glimpse of the Providence High boys' basketball team at its best.

Facing sixth-seeded Crossroads, the Pioneers looked in control, attacking the basket for easy layups and hoisting a number of uncontested three-point baskets to lead by as many as 11 points.

"That came from us being able to use their aggressive defense against them," senior guard Josias Parker said. "We made high screens. We got in gaps. We were able to facilitate and kick it out for open shots by making the extra pass. Once you get to the heart of the defense, someone is open."

Many were open. Providence scored 20 points in the period, including five three-pointers in the first half.

Contrast that to the third quarter when it was far from at its best, scoring a total of five points. It was enough of a drop-off that the visiting Roadrunners crawled back to within one point. And by the final whistle, Crossroads prevailed, 60-53, to advance to the quarterfinals and end the Pioneers' season.

Providence had been coming off a hard-fought 60-57 victory over Salesian in the first round.

"We didn't move the ball as much," Parker added on the third-quarter struggles. "We kind of stagnated. We didn't get into the hole and find the extra pass to get the best shot out of a possession. In the second quarter, we had more consistent looks."

Parker finished with a game-high 20 points, including four assists and two steals. He scored many of his baskets on drives to the basket, including seven of eight from the free-throw line. Senior guard Jonathan Ly added 15 points, while senior forward Kyle Lipton also finished in double-figures with 10.

Only two other players scored, though.

For Providence (16-11), its double-digit first-half lead began to slither away when Lipton, who had eight first-half points, picked up his fourth foul right before halftime, leaving him on the bench until the two-minute mark of the third quarter.

"It was horrible," Pioneers Coach Chris Madigan said.

With Providence's tallest player on the bench for much of the second half, Crossroads (19-5) used its size to pull ahead late. In a seesaw fourth quarter that saw nine lead changes, it relied on its 6-foot-5 junior forward Charlie Hall, who finished with 15 points, to shoulder much of the burden offensively.

The Roadrunners would pull ahead for good when Hall converted an easy layup off a pass from junior guard Alexander Miles, who stole an errant Providence inbound pass with 2:40 left to play.

"You can't make mistakes of that caliber in a playoff game in the fourth quarter," Madigan said. "You have to be smart. You have to be fundamentally sound."

Providence also failed to score a basket over the final 3:41 after going up, 52-49.

"Shame on us," Madigan said. "We don't finish our opportunities. It's a couple-basket game and there you go."

"It's a tough way for your season to end. We had more than our fair share of opportunities. These kids have done a great job to get us into this position and that's why it hurts so badly. We're right there with a chance to get into the next round."

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