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Pioneers lead CIF push

Basketball: All four girls' teams and three boys' squads qualify for postseason play.

February 13, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY,
(File Photo )

It's been a good season for the Providence High girls' and boys' basketball teams.

Along with both winning Liberty League championships, the two Pioneers squads also garnered top-three seeds for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Providence boys earned the No. 1 seed in Division IVA and the girls are No. 3 in Division IV-AA.

Including the Pioneers teams, seven area programs earned postseason bids, including Burbank and Bellarmine-Jefferson in boys and Burroughs, Bell-Jeff and the Bulldogs in girls.

Having never won a CIF Southern Section championship in basketball, Providence and first-year Coach Ernest Baskerville said his group is eager to see what it can do in the postseason.

"I told the guys there are three parts to our season," Baskerville said. "The [nonleague season, the league season and the playoffs. We are just hoping to keep up our passion to win and our resilience at the end of games."


The Pioneers (23-4) will have to wait for their opening game, however, as they earned a bye for the first round which is set to begin Wednesday. Providence will play the winner of the Villanova Prep-New Roads game in a second-round contest at 7 p.m. Friday at home.

Baskerville said getting the first-round bye gives his team some time to get healthy, as Patrick Gonzalez is still nursing a sore foot and Kellen Smith has suffered from an injured knee.

"It's nice to have the extra time to get the guys healthy," Baskerville said. "But we kind of want to go out and play, so the guys can get the jitters of being in the playoffs out of the way. But the fact that we're banged up, we could definitely use the bye."

The Pioneers have been led by freshman Marcus LoVett Jr., who is averaging 31.8 points a game. Along with Gonzalez and Smith, the squad also has talented players in Jonathan Ly and Christian Ware-Berry.

The Burbank (16-11) boys' team, which originally finished fifth in the Pacific League, benefited from forfeit wins from Muir to earn the league's No. 4 seed in the Division I-A playoffs. Muir lost its league championship after it had to forfeit 20 games because of the use of an ineligible player.

The Bulldogs will have to hit the road for a 7 p.m. opening-round game Friday against Chino Hills. The Huskies (17-10) are the No. 3 team from the Sierra League.

Burbank had solid payers in Andre Spight and Remy Youssefi.

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