Cougs done in at home

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Liberty League contest between Glendale Adventist Academy and Providence High was all but determined in the second quarter.

It was an eight-minute frame in which the Pioneers garnered a double-digit they never relinquished in the midst of outscoring the Cougars by 12 en route to a 49-26 win at Glendale Adventist Academy Thursday.

Providence's Bea Benedicto led the way with eight points in the quarter. As a team, the Pioneers shot seven of 13 while holding the Cougars to one field goal and three in the first half.

"They were running a 2-3 zone, so we decided to put four on the perimeter to spread the zone, and gave Bea more opportunities to work inside," said Pioneers Coach Andrew Bencze, whose team won its seventh straight. "On the other end, our defensive pressure did a good job of wearing out Glendale Adventist."

Despite having scored just six points in the first half and trailing by 16, the Cougars looked more poised in the third quarter, while getting better looks on offense with fewer turnovers.

Brittney Gregg ended a 12-0 Pioneers run with a free throw early in the frame. Minutes later, she was the recipient of a Kristie Kawamoto assist after her quick drive into the paint to set up a bounce pass. On the team's next possession, Gregg found Chantel Robinson on an inbound pass which prompted a Providence timeout.

Overall, Coach Stephen Nelson's squad made as many field goals in the third quarter as it did in the first half and more than doubled the points.

"It's all about executing offense," Nelson said. "In the second half, we did that. I don't think we did that once in the first half."

Unfortunately for the Cougars, Providence (15-3, 3-0) kept shooting the ball at a high percentage, making seven of 15 shots in the quarter to extend its lead to 36-14 going into the fourth quarter.

Robinson led the Cougars with 10 points — eight coming in the second half. As a team, Glendale Adventist scored 20 of its 26 points in the final 16 minutes with the highest output coming in the fourth.

The improved play proved to be too little, too late for the Cougars as a forgettable second quarter ultimately was too much to overcome.

Benedicto finished with a game-high 16 points. Katia Dabbaghian added 11 and Catherine Saint chipped in with seven for the Pioneers, who have won nine of their last 10.

After the game, the two coaches spoke of their respective teams seemingly not being on the same level just yet.

"There's potential that's unseen," Nelson said. "We can definitely do a better showing. We played better in the second half, and the girls need to see that to get their confidence up."

"It's always nice to get on a streak," Bencze said. "It brings momentum and positive feeling. Our goal is to be playing our best ball in time for the playoffs, and I think we will."

Both teams continue Liberty League play as Providence hosts Holy Martyrs Armenian Saturday. Glendale Adventist stays home Tuesday against Buckley.

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