BURBANK — Using a suffocating defense against an offense that was already struggling was more than enough for the Providence High girls' basketball team in its CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA opener.
Fueled by their full-court press, the second-seeded Pioneers tallied 34 steals and cruised to a 48-20 victory over visiting Downey Calvary Chapel Thursday night at Providence.
The four-time Liberty League champions will have to travel for their second-round game and will face the winner of Sherman Indian and 15th seeded Linfield Christian on Saturday.
“We knew they would have trouble scoring against us,” Pioneers Coach Andrew Bencze said after the convincing win over the Grizzlies from the Delphic League. “The full-court press was a safety net. Defensively, we wanted to hold them until our offense came around.”
Providence (18-9) struggled from the field, particularly in the second quarter where the Pioneers made just three of 20 attempts. Eventually, though, they were able to get a rhythm on offense and finished the game making 20 of 68 field-goal attempts.