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Fourth-quarter woes derail Pioneers

February 08, 2006|By By Grant Gordon

GrantGIRLS' BASKETBALL: Providence able to keep up with Crescenta Valley for three quarters but struggles late in 40-33 loss.PROVIDENCE HIGH -- Sprinkled amidst the hubbub of Pacific and Liberty League games, the Providence and Crescenta Valley high's girls' basketball teams gathered for a nonleague game Saturday.

Riding a 10-game winning streak, the Pioneers were looking to establish themselves against a bigger school, while the Falcons were hoping for a much-needed up-swing.

In the end, Crescenta Valley might have just found the positive momentum it desperately needed, while Providence Coach Andrew Bencze is still unsure of his team's prospects after a 40-33 nonleague loss to the Falcons at Providence High.

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"We scheduled this game to get ready for playoffs. We wanted to see if we were ready," said Bencze, whose team is in first place in the Liberty League with a 10-0 record. "It's unfortunate, but I gotta say, 'No,' right now."

The Pioneers (18-6) led at the end of each of the first three quarters, but a 10-point Crescenta Valley (13-11) run to begin the fourth quarter was too much to overcome.

"It was the turning point. The fourth quarter, we stepped it up," said Falcon Jennifer Becker, who grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and scored eight of her team-best 13 points in the final stanza. "We were more comfortable."

Providence senior forward Vanessa Amran was anything but comfortable.

Despite notching game-highs with 15 points and 10 rebounds, the senior post player was hounded inside all game.

"She was definitely frustrated," Bencze said.

Amran scored eight points in the first quarter, before the Falcons made an adjustment and collapsed inside every time she got the ball.

"After a while, we were having trouble with her," Falcon first-year Coach Jason Perez said. "Then we made that adjustment."

Junior Heather Hansen added 13 points to the Pioneer cause, including all seven of her team's fourth-quarter points. Hansen and Amran combining for 28 of their team's 33 points wouldn't cut it.

"We're missing another scoring threat," Bencze said.

In contrast, Crescenta Valley got contributions all over.

Junior Molly Roach struggled offensively, scoring just five points, but nabbed eight steals. Senior Stephanie Anderson tossed in 12 points and Manda Paul scored eight, to go with six boards.

Neither team flourished on offense.

The Pioneers struggled with a 11-of-44 performance from the floor. The Falcons didn't fare much better, hitting just 15 of 46 shots.

In the second and third quarters, Crescenta Valley came on strong, going on six- and eight-point runs, respectively.

Providence was able to counter, expept in the fourth.

The Pioneers' first field goal of the quarter didn't come until 6:59 had gone by, and by then, the Falcons were up, 35-25.

"We started off kind of flat. Defense was good the whole time, but offensively, we weren't executing," Perez said.

For Providence, it will conclude league play Friday at Viewpoint.

"If we want to end the season, we can keep playing this way," he said. "We were hoping this was a way we could announce Providence has a good team. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. You try and use this game to point out we have some work to do. Hopefully this is a wake-up call."

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