This is the second in a four-part series looking back on the sports accomplishments of the four local high schools during the 2012-13 year. This installment is Providence High:
In a city rich with basketball talent and success, the Providence High girls' program grabbed its share of headlines and built up a rich tradition with a string of successful players and teams the past few years.
During the 2012-13 campaign, it was that Pioneers hoops squad that led the way among the school's sports teams.
Along with winning their fourth straight Liberty League title, the No. 2-seeded Pioneers did well in the Division V-AA playoffs again, defeating Downey Calvary Chapel, 48-20, Linfield Christian, 69-44, and Bishop Union, 62-43, to advance to the semifinals. However, Providence wasn't able to advance to the program's first championship game after losing to Village Christian, 46-45.
In the CIF State Basketball Championships, Providence won its first-round game against Tri-County Christian, 42-29, before falling to No. 2 Sierra Canyon, 78-30.
The team was paced by Bea Benedicto and Katie Dabbaghian. For Benedicto, a senior forward, she was a physical, grinding presence, posting up and getting the majority of her points under the basket. In contrast, Dabbaghian, a sophomore guard, was the court general for the Pioneers, as her slashing style and quickness posed problems for opponents.
Despite their differences, both Benedicto and Dabbaghian enjoyed their share of success during the season. The two also had something else in common, as they earned All-CIF Southern Section honors. While Benedicto was a first-team choice in Division V-AA, Dabbaghian made the second team. It is the second straight season the pair garnered All-CIF accolades.
Benedicto was a four-year standout for the Pioneers. This past season she was voted the Liberty League Player of the year after sharing the honor as a junior. In addition, Benedicto leaves the Providence program after helping the team capture four straight league championships.
With Benedicto doing most of her damage in the paint, she averaged a team-high 9.9 points a game to go along with 5.6 rebounds. She also averaged 1.1 steals a game. Dabbaghian was perhaps the Pioneers' best all-around player. Along with averaging 7.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, she also tallied 3.7 steals, 3.2 assists and nearly a block a game.
In the fall, Dabbaghian did something no other Pioneers girls' runner has ever accomplished in cross-country: win a league race.
Dabbaghian, who was running cross-country for the first time, placed first in 21 minutes flat in October at a Liberty League competition at Woodley Park.
The Providence girls' volleyball team advanced to the playoffs in the fall after placing fourth in the Liberty League.
In the winter season, history was made by the boys' soccer team.
For the first time, the Pioneers captured a league championship, earning a crown in the Heritage League with a 4-0-4 record. The berth in the postseason was also a first for the program.
Unfortunately, Providence lost to Tarbut V'Torah, 3-1, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division VII playoffs.
With its success in league play, Providence had four players earn All-Heritage League honors, including senior center midfielder Sarkis Shaginian, who was honored as the Heritage League Player of the Year. The top league honor was also a first for a Pioneers player.
Shaginian was a workhorse for the Pioneers (6-3-4), as he powered the team's offense and led with his play on the field. Shaginian ended with a team-high 13 goals.
In boys' basketball, the Pioneers endured a trying season after advancing to a CIF championship game the previous season. The team had to play without all-state guard Marcus LoVett Jr., who was sidelined for a period with an infection. LoVett eventually departed the team and left the school.
Stepping in for LoVett was junior Christian Ware-Berry. He earned a spot to the All-CIF Division V-AA second team and was an All-Liberty League first-team choice. Ware-Berry led the city after averaging 22.2 points a game to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
Ware-Berry has since left Providence and is now at West Ranch.
The Pioneers (9-18) placed third in the Liberty League Tournament and qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs as an at-large team. The team suffered a 72-66 loss in the first round to Lancaster Desert Christian. Ware-Berry poured in 37 points in the loss.
Enjoying success during the spring campaign was the boys' volleyball team, led by senior outside hitter Phil Harvey.
Behind Harvey, Providence (16-10) was able to claim its first league championship in 13 years, going 9-1. The Pioneers also won their CIF Southern Section Division V first-round match against California Academy of Math and Science, 25-6, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15. Harvey tallied 14 kills in the win.
Paced by all-league players, senior shortstop Estelle Glorioso and senior catcher Phylizia Carrillo, the Providence (8-13) softball team placed third in the Liberty League. The Pioneers advanced to the first-round of the CIF Southern Section Division VII playoffs with a 22-18 wild-card victory against Coastal Christian.
Providence couldn't keep up the postseason momentum, however, as it lost in the second round to Firebaugh, 12-1.
Glorioso batted .553 with 26 hits, 22 runs batted in, 32 runs scored, seven doubles and two home runs. Carrillo had a .534 batting average with 32 hits, 25 RBI, 25 runs scored and six home runs.
Also enjoying success in the spring was the Pioneers' boys' golf team, which claimed a league championship in just its third year of exsistance.