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Providence sweeps Holy Cross to earn playoff bid

February 12, 2019

The tide has turned in the Providence-Holy Cross basketball rivalry.

For the first time since at least 2004, the Provets (9-18, 4-2) recorded two wins against the Knights. Providence prevailed 44-31 on Feb. 5 at the Provets’ Glahn Gym.

Along with the satisfaction of defeating a close rival, the victory carried a ticket to the playoffs. Providence finished second in TAPPS District 5-5A and Holy Cross was third.

“It wasn’t just beating Holy Cross a second time,” Providence senior point guard Emily Saenz said. “It was going to the playoffs again.

“Our defense at the beginning of the season wasn’t as good as it is now. We’re very much improved.”

Providence will play Houston Second Baptist (20-5) on Feb. 19 in the area round.

“We know which opponent we’ll face and we’ll have more time to prepare than last year,” Provets coach Alex de la Garza said.

Providence is one of six area playoff qualifiers. The others are Brackenridge (18-11, 11-5), Edison (22-10, 13-3), Highlands (22-13, 13-3), Sam Houston (22-12, 11-5) and Southside (21-9, 13-4).

Holy Cross had qualified for the playoffs each of the previous two seasons and three of the last four. The Provets also defeated the Knights 34-28 on Jan. 17.

“These girls played hard and they never quit,” Holy Cross coach Jesse Arguello said. “The only thing a coach can ask is for them to compete as hard as they can, and they did.”

Holy Cross led 5-0 at the outset, but the Provets reversed the momentum for an 8-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Providence led 27-15 at halftime.

“This game, we started slow,” Providence coach Alex de la Garza said. “Our defense wasn’t really intense. I told them, ‘We’ve got to go back to our calling card.’ They really took to the challenge in the second quarter. That was our best quarter.”

The Provets increased their lead to 32-17 on a three-point basket from Calista Medina with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter. Saenz (11 points) then made another three — Providence’s last points for a 6 minute, 21-second stretch.

Victoria Perez (12 points) led Holy Cross’ comeback effort, scoring five unanswered points.

“Victoria has provided leadership all season,” Arguello said. “This was her senior year, so she really went all out.”

A basket from Rose Calderon (13 points), off an assist from Perez, brought the Knights within 35-26 with 5:06 left. But Providence went inside to junior Maddy Gonzalez (17 points) for two quick baskets.

The Provets’ combination of defense and rebounding preserved the win.

“It’s our time to show Providence basketball isn’t something to be messed with,” Gonzalez said.

Highlands 67, Alamo Heights 42

The Owls locked in a share of the District 27-5A championship with a decisive win over Alamo Heights (14-18, 6-10) Feb. 5 at the MuleDome. Edison and Highlands were co-champions.

Highlands had a commanding 39-14 halftime lead.

Layla Mendoza led the Owls with 21 points and four assists. Alyssa Flores recorded 14 points and six rebounds. Iyana Clay finished with nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

Edison 64, Fox Tech 10

The Golden Bears maintained their share of first place in District 27-5A with a victory over Fox Tech (2-29, 0-16) Feb. 5 at Alamo Convocation Center.

Madylynn Zavala led 12 Golden Bears scorers with 10 points.

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