Kaiden Fine wasted no time in what turned out to be a watershed moment in his career.
No matter where he stood near the basket, the Providence High boys’ basketball player had a look of determination to get the Pioneers back on the right track.
Fine finished with a career-high 29 points and added 11 rebounds and three steals to power host Providence to a 69-55 Prep League win against Pasadena Poly on Tuesday.
Providence (13-10, 2-1 in league) came into Tuesday’s key matchup with Pasadena Poly (14-7, 2-1) fresh off a 69-58 victory versus Beverly Hills on Monday in a Martin Luther King Showdown contest at South Pasadena High after falling to Flintridge Prep, 50-49, in a league game Friday.
In stepped Fine, a senior forward, who helped provide a spark for the Pioneers on Tuesday.
“I’m usually locked in mentally, and I didn’t want to see us lose our lead tonight,” said Fine, who scored the first nine points of the third quarter for Providence. “I think I’ve been playing well lately, but tonight is a big boost for my confidence.
“We were involved throughout the game, and I think we had it rolling the whole game. It’s great to be able to get a career-high in points and win.”
Fine finished with 15 second-half points to help keep Pasadena Poly at bay. Fine capped his nine-point surge in the third quarter with a three-pointer to give the Pioneers a 39-26 lead with 4:46 to go.
Providence second-year coach Anthony Cosby said Fine displayed a dazzling performance in helping the Pioneers pull even in the standings with the Panthers.
“Kaiden put us on his back,” said Cosby, who guided the Pioneers to a league championship and an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA quarterfinals last season. “It was a huge effort from him and we needed that after that tough loss to Flintridge Prep.
“We followed up with the win against Beverly Hills and made a nice transition tonight. That’s a sign of growth, readiness, focus and playing together as a group. We just need to get in a couple of good practices and tighten up some things on defense. I like what kind of team we can be in the second half of league.”
Providence, which held a 34-20 lead at halftime, got 13 points and seven rebounds from Maxwell Hudnall and six points apiece from Jacob Arias and Julian Thompkins.
Thompkins converted on a long jump shot to give Providence a 10-6 advantage with 4:02 left in the first quarter. Fine made his second of three three-pointers to extend Providence’s lead to 20-14 with 5:03 to go in the second quarter.
Pasadena Poly got a team-high 20 points and nine rebounds from Justin Odibo and 17 points from Justin Wang.
The Pioneers and Panthers will meet again on Feb. 2 at Pasadena Poly.