It was the first postseason win for the Pioneers since 2012 when they advanced to the Division V-A championship.
It was also the first playoff win at Providence (16-10) for first-year coach Chris Madigan, whose team finished third in the Liberty League.
"It was a tough battle and Salesian is a very strong, physical team," Madigan said. "I'm still trying to figure out how we were able to win it."
The Pioneers moved on to the second round Friday and will take on either No. 6 Crossroads or Sage Hill. Providence would host Crossroads and travel to face Sage Hill.
It was a streaky performance for Providence. But the team was able to spread the scoring around, as the Pioneers were led by senior Kyle Lipton, who had 18 points, including four three-pointers. Fellow seniors Jonathan Ly and Josias Parker chipped in 12 points apiece.
Providence came out and played well in the first quarter, paced by an 11-point, three three-pointer effort from Lipton. The Pioneers were clicking on offense, converting on seven of 11 shots from the field for a scalding 64%. Providence also played tough defense, forcing eight turnovers.
As a result, the Pioneers ended the first quarter with a 20-17 lead against Salesian (18-10) — the third-place team from the Santa Fe League.
But things went south for Providence in the second quarter, as the team did a 180. The only field goal of the stanza came with a basket by Lipton with 3:01 remaining. In the quarter, the Pioneers made just one of 13 shots from the field (8%) and committed six turnovers.