St. Monica used a balanced offense to defeat Providence in a non league boys’ basketball game on Saturday. The Mariners received double-digit scoring from four players to edge the Pioneers, 66-62, at Providence High School.
Dennis Ashley led the way for St. Monica with 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Spencer Gorman added 14 points and grabbed 10 boards, while Kavion Simab poured in 13 points and pulled down six rebounds.
Kavin Dotson contributed with 10 points, and the Mariners received a solid, all-around play from center Xiang Yu Meng, who finished the game with eight points and 10 rebounds. Providence was led by Josias Parker with 21 and Kyle Lipton with 18.
The game was an early season matchup between two of the Top 25 CIF Southern Section 4-A teams.
In the current CIF Division 4-A rankings, St. Monica is holding on to a No. 19 ranking, while Providence is seeded at the No. 21 position. The game was tight throughout with the Mariners prevailing with an edge in the fourth and final period.
Going into the fourth quarter, St. Monica held a slim two-point lead over Providence. The Mariners outscored the Pioneers 20-18 in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
“I was really proud of how efficient we played,” St. Monica coach John Skinner said. “The team mostly stuck to the game plan and we got the ball inside and to the basket without relying too much on the three- point shot. We are a much better team when we have 16 team assists. It was a good road win for us against a well coached team that can flat out shoot the ball.”
Playing on the road is always tough. The Mariners found out early how tough it is as Providence jumped out to a 17-12 first quarter advantage. St. Monica then regrouped in the second period, outscoring Providence 18-9 to take a 30-26 lead into intermission.
The difference in the game was the free throwing shooting of St. Monica.
The Mariners only connected on 24 field goals out of 66 shot attempts during the game. But the charity stripe proved to be critical in the win as St. Monica made 16 of 20 free throws. Ashley had a big hand in that, going perfect on 10 out of 10 free throw attempts.
The Mariners’ great free throw shooting help offset the three-point onslaught that Providence hit them with. Providence shot 20 three-point attempts, connecting on 10 3-pointers for the game. Skinner had high praise for his team’s efforts.
“Dennis Ashley made some great passes to set up teammates with open shots and needs to continue to do that for us,” Skinner said. “I can’t say enough about Senior Kaivon Simab’s impact. He has a great understanding for the game and was in the right place at the right time for some key plays for us. It was nice to see Xiang Yu Meng and Spencer Gorman both play a physical game and give us a strong interior presence.”