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Basketball was king at Providence during 2012-12 campaign

Both Pioneers boys' and girls' hoops teams captured Liberty League championships and enjoyed deep postseason runs in CIF.

August 17, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY

This is the fourth in a four-part series looking back on the sports accomplishments of the four local high schools during the 2011-12 year. This installment is Providence High:

Basketball reigned supreme at Providence High during the 2011-12 campaign. The Pioneers boys' and girls' teams had similar success, as they both captured Liberty League championships, enjoyed deep runs in the CIF Southern Section playoffs and qualified for the state tournament.

Under Coach Andrew Bencze, the girls' squad (27-6) rolled to an undisputed Liberty League championship; the third in a row for the program. However, senior standout Catherine Saint injured an ankle in the final regular season game and missed much of the playoffs.

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Undaunted, the No. 3 Pioneers went on to the Division V-AA semifinals for the first time in program history, losing to No. 1 Villanova Prep, 48-35. Providence received an invitation to state play and defeated Rock Academy, 68-35, and Orangewood Academy, 44-34, to advance to the regional semifinals. In the game, Providence saw its season come to an end with a 64-28 loss to Mission Prep.

Leading the historic run was a trio of players: Saint, junior Bea Benedicto and freshman Katia Dabbaghian. All three earned All-CIF Southern Section accolades in Division V-AA, as Saint was a first-team selection and Benedicto and Dabbaghian were second-team picks.

Benedicto was also awarded by being named the Liberty League co-Player of the Year.

While Benedicto averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds a contest, Dabbaghian averaged 7.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.6 steals and three assists and Saint averaged 9.8 points and 2.9 steals.

On the boys' side, star freshman Marcus LoVett Jr. paced the Pioneers under first-year Coach Earnest Baskerville. Along with winning their first league crown in 12 years, the Pioneers also enjoyed a historic postseason run, advancing past the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

Unfortunately for Providence, its first-ever appearance in a CIF championship game ended with a 65-62 Division IV-A overtime loss to league foe Holy Martyrs.

Providence also advanced to state competition for the first time, losing to Mission Prep, 68-62, in the opening round of the Southern California Regionals of the CIF State Division IV Championships.

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