GBK: Lions advance to D6 semifinal

Providence Hall vs. Joshua Springs girls basketball

Olivia Johnson, left, and Sydney Hedges, right, accounted for 41 of the Lions’ 65 points

Sydney Hedges and Providence Hall’s girls basketball team smothered a second-half comeback by Joshua Springs to advance to the Division 6 CIF semifinals with a 65-49 victory on Wednesday night at Westmont College.

Providence Hall led 34-15 at halftime but the Lightning from Yucca Valley bolted back in the third quarter and pulled to within 43-37 early in the fourth quarter. The Lions had led by as many as 22 in the third period.

Joshua Springs made its run with the Lions’ leading scorer Sydney Hedges sitting on the bench.

“Sydney’s battling an injury so we sat her out hoping we could get through those eight minutes,” said Lions head coach Ernie Quiroz.

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Hedges was back on the court at the start of the fourth quarter and led the Lions to 22-points in the final frame.

“From then on, I think the whole team contributed and just played as hard as we could,” Hedges said.

The senior finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Hedges described the injury as a mild leg strain.

“I’m ok. Should be good by Saturday,” Hedges said.

Olivia Johnson added 20 points from the low post and Elizabeth Beebe pulled down 16 rebounds. Hedges, Johnson and Beebe were all taller than the Lightning’s tallest.

With Hedges in the game size was an advantage. Without her, the Lightning used it against them.

Courtney Roberts scored 12 of her 18 points in the third quarter. Candace Candelaria, who recorded a game-high 22 points, then knocked down a three-pointer to start the fourth that pulled Joshua Springs to within six points.

“We just run and gun and finally some started falling,” said Joshua Springs head coach Derek Bogue. “We couldn’t trap them, they’re too good.”

The Lightning finish their season with a 14-11 record having finished third in the Victory League.

“We set some personal records, we set some team records, and it is as far as our girls team has come before,” Bogue said. “Three years ago they didn’t win anything, so yeah, they came a long ways. They didn’t quit.”

Providence Hall plays its semifinal game on Saturday at Hesperia Christian.

The Lions reached the championship game last year but lost to Orangewood Academy. This year they are drawing from that experience.

“It gives us a bigger desire to win because we know what it’s like to lose so we want it that much more,” said Lions senior Lacey Gonzalez.

BOX SCORE?

JOSHUA SPRINGS – Roberts 18, Candelaria 22, Parker 6, Braley 2, Escamilla 1.

PROVIDENCE HALL – Barroca 12, Hedges 21, Beebe 2, Oppenhuizen 2, Gonzalez 8, Johnson 20

Joshua Springs ?5 10 17 17 – 49
Providence Hall 22 12 9 22 – 65

3-Pointers – JS ?6 ( Candelena 4, Roberts 2) PH 2 (Barroca, Gonzalez)

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