Just like last year there were tears. But this time they were tears of joy as Providence Hall of Santa Barbara defeated Rio Hondo Prep 49-46 to win the Southern Section Division 6 girls basketball championship in Santa Ana.
Tied at 44 with under three minutes left, Olivia Barroca sank a three-pointer to put the Lions up 47-44. Still leading by three in the final seconds, Rio Hondo missed a long two pointer and Lacey Gonzalez dribbled out the clock to give Providence Hall their first CIF title of any kind. The school opened in 2007 and is in its third year competing in the CIF.
The victory was extra sweet as the Lions lost last year by three points in the CIF final to Orangewood Academy.
Barroca made four 3-pointers in the game to lead all scorers with 16 points. Sydney Hedges added 13 points and 11 rebounds while Lizzy Beebe scored nine points.
Providence Hall trailed 25-24 at the half but built up a 39-33 lead entering the final quarter. But that lead disappeared quickly as the Kares went on a 7-0 run to lead 40-39. Lacey Gonzalez scored all five of her points in the fourth quarter and her only field goal of the game tied it at 42 with just under five minutes left. Leading by one with around 30 seconds left, Gonzalez made two free throws for the final points of the game.
The season continues for Providence Hall as they will host a State Tournament game next week. The pairings come out on Sunday.