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Providence depth enough to lift team, 51-41

December 14, 2002

PROVIDENCE HIGH -- The game plan Bellarmine-Jefferson High boys'

basketball Coach Eli Essa had was to stop Providence's Harout

Messrelian and Ian Breckenridge-Jackson.

Essa accomplished that. But his Guards couldn't stop the rest of

the Pioneers, as host Providence defeated Bell-Jeff, 51-41, in a

nonleague contest Friday.

"Defensively, we did a great job. We wanted to frustrate Jackson


and we did that for two-and-a-half quarters and we took Harout out of

his game until the fourth quarter,'' Essa said.

But Providence (4-1) proved it is much deeper than just its two

leading scorers.

"They ran a box-and-one on Harout, so it made it difficult for him

to score and Ian got three fouls in the first quarter,'' Providence

co-Coach Paolo Velasco said.

But it was Armen Yousefian who stepped up and put the team on his

shoulders for the Pioneers. The Pioneer senior scored 12 of his

game-high 15 points in the second half. He hit two three-pointers

late in the third quarter when Bell-Jeff had cut the lead to two


"I saw the look in their eyes in the second half and they weren't

tired,'' said Providence co-Coach Robert Mena. "The key to [Friday's]

game was that Harout had 10 points and Ian had three and those guys

usually average 15 to 20 each.'' Bell-Jeff (1-2) struggled with its shooting, as it was nine of 25

from the field in the first half. Brendon Doyle kept the Guards in

the game, as he had 10 of his 16 rebounds in the first half, to go

along with six points.

After Brian Alfaro gave Bell-Jeff a 1-0 lead, Providence never

trailed. It went on an 8-0 run, until Alfaro hit the Guards' first

field goal at 3:20 of the first quarter.

Bell-Jeff fought back in the second quarter, tying the score at 17

on a three-pointer by Clarence Viray.

Providence concluded the half on baskets by Frank Catota and


The Guards continued to fight hard in the third quarter, and

trailed just, 35-31, going into the fourth quarter.

But Messrelian -- who went one for 13 from the field -- in the

first three quarters, opened the fourth by hitting a three-pointer.

He followed with a second three-pointer moments later, giving

Providence a 41-33 advantage.

At that point, the Pioneers began to pull away, as Bell-Jeff could

not get any closer than six points.

"Credit goes to the other guys who stepped up,'' Essa said.

"Unfortunately, we didn't execute on the offensive end.''

Providence, which hosted Bell-Jeff for the first time in its new

gymnasium, saw a huge crowd come out to support it against its

cross-town Catholic-school rival.

"This is the most I've seen at a Providence basketball game,''

Velasco said.


Bell-Jeff 7 10 14

10 -- 41

Providence 14 7 14

16 -- 51


Alfaro 13, Doyle 8 and 16 rebounds, Kerjekian 8,

Mastropietro 2, Viray 10.

* Three-pointers: Viray


Yousefian 15, Catota 10, Messrelian 10,

Breckenridge-Jackson 3, Boucher 3, Nelson 7, Nepomuceno 3.

* Three-pointers: Yousefian 3, Messrelian 2, Boucher,


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