PROVIDENCE HIGH — It has been 11 years since the Providence High girls' basketball team won a championship in its own Providence Pioneer Shootout.
In addition, last year's third-place finish by the Pioneers was their best showing in their own event since also placing third in 2003.
However, in this year's 14th installment, the Pioneers are serious about doing well, and hopefully taking home their first championship since 1999.
Providence looked like a team on just such a mission Monday when it opened the tournament with a first-round game against New Roads. After a slow start, the Pioneers stepped up their game and were able to coast to a 64-25 victory against the Panthers.
"I talked to the girls about approaching every game in this tournament like a championship game," said Providence Coach Andrew Bencze, whose team won the Liberty League title last season. "We feel we have a good team this year and we think that this just might be the year that we are going to be able to compete for the championship."