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Providence High girls' basketball edged in CIF semifinals again

Basketball: Providence High girls fall to Village Christian, 46-45, in semifinal home contest.

February 23, 2013|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Leader

SUN VALLEY — Last year, the Providence High girls’ basketball team found itself on the doorstep of making its first CIF Southern Section Division V-AA championship appearance before being stopped in the semifinals.

This season, the Pioneers found themselves back at the doorstep of the finals just needing to take one more step, in the form of a road game against Village Christian on Saturday night at Kendall Pavilion, to play for their first CIF crown.

The Pioneers, seeded No. 2 in the division, seemed to have one foot through the door, holding a seven-point lead with five minutes to go, but they saw the door slammed shut as Village’s Christian’s Samantha Pyros caught fire.

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Pyros scored eight points in the final two minutes Saturday to give the host Crusaders a 46-45 victory to delay Providence’s first championship appearance for at least one more season.

“This was really tough,” Providence Coach Andrew Bencze said. “You’ve got to give credit to Village, you know. They played real hard and they were down most of the game, so they just kept fighting back.”

Providence (19-10) took the lead on the first possession of the second quarter and held it until there were 57 seconds left in the fourth, when Pyros hit both of her free throws for a 43-42 advantage.

After a Pioneer miss and two more made free throws by Pyros, the Pioneers, who struggled mightily in the final frame to find any offense, got a clutch three-point basket from freshman Fabi Jimenez to tie the game at 45 with six seconds to go.

But then Village Christian (18-13), the No. 11 seed, had Aubrey Pyburn throw the inbounds pass three-quarters down the floor to Pyros, who drew a foul, sending the senior to the line with 3.6 seconds left. She hit the first and missed the second. The Pioneers grabbed the rebound, but Providence’s Kristie Kawamoto’s desperate heave from about half court never had much of a chance, leaving the Pioneers heartbroken.

“[Pyros] can really fill it up,” Bencze said of Village Christian’s game-high scorer with 18 points. “We knew we had to come in and really crowd her out of the key and we did a great job of that for about three quarters and six minutes. But the last part of the quarter, we just kind of lost track a little bit.”

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