Providence Hall reserves spot in CIF championship

Lacey Gonzalez, right, and Olivia Barroca acknowledge each other's good play on the previous offensive play.

Sydney Hedges, foreground, and Faith Emerson gave the Lions a boost in the first half with a combined 21 points before halftime.

Providence Hall’s girls basketball team blew out Valley Christian Academy in the first quarter and never looked back on Saturday in a CIF Division 6 semifinal, reaching a CIF title game in only its second year of playing in the California Interscholastic Federation.

The Lions broke out to a 23-5 lead after the first quarter and went on to win 70-43 in Westmont’s Murchison Gym.

The 70 points scored and 23 in the first quarter are both season highs.

“I think we knew how good of a team they were,” said Lions forward Sydney Hedges. “They were definitely one of our best competitions out there. And so we knew we had to bring a lot of intensity.”

Hedges scored 18 points to lead the Lions in scoring for the third straight game. Elizabeth Beebe added 13 and Faith Emerson 11 for Providence Hall.

The second-seeded Lions have won four straight playoff games by an average margin of 28 points.

“It’s just really great for this group of girls,” said Providence Hall head coach Ariana Gnekow. “They’ve worked so hard. We need the whole team and they’ve been there for every single practice.”

Providence Hall won’t learn the time and location of its championship game until Monday.

Coming to the game, VCA had the credentials to bring down Providence. Valley Christian had won 16 straight after a season-opening 61-60 loss to Providence Hall way back in early December. The Lions of Santa Maria were also playoff tested, having reached the semifinals last year as well.

“Both teams have improved a lot,” Emerson noted. “We just came out with a lot of energy and the whole team played together.”

The first quarter set the tone with Providence Hall grabbing hold of a daunting 18-point lead.

Sabrina Swain was responsible for all five VCA points in the first quarter and knocked down three 3-pointers in the game on her way to 13 points. Kari Humann led the Lions of Santa Maria with 15 points.


Megan Hahs puts in a layup during the fourth quarter.

“They had everthing going for ’em,” said Valley Christian head coach Pete Fortier. “They’re more physical than we are. They were pushing us around.”

While the decision ends VCA’s 16-game win streak, Providence Hall has won five straight.

“I’m just really proud of my team. We’re peaking at the right time,” Emerson said.


Valley Christian – Humann 15, Hedlund 2, Sabrina Swain 13, Simone Swain 6,  Hertzog 5. Totals – 12 FG, 16-22 FT

Providence Hall – Hedges 18, Gonzales 9, Barroca 3, Prishak 2, Emerson 11, Beebe 13, Hahs 4, Park 2, Johnson 4. Totals – 26 FG, 13-16 FT.

VALLEY CHRISTIAN    5  13  11  14  – 43

PROVIDENCE HALL  23  16  12  17 – 70


  1. Cara Emerson says

    GO LIONS!!!! Awesome game!!