BURBANK — The Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball team faced its toughest opponent so far this year when it squared off against San Gabriel in the semifinals of the Providence High School Pioneer Shootout on Friday.
And the Rebels still won by double digits.
Flintridge Prep overcame a sluggish start and fended off a fierce Matador rally to defeat San Gabriel, 58-47.
The Matadors (6-2) held a 9-6 lead early before Flintridge Prep got into the swing of things. The Rebels went on a 24-9 run to close out the first half up, 30-18.
“I guess when we came out we were pretty nervous from what we've heard about San Gabriel,” said Prep's Tala Ismail, who set the tone early by scoring her team's first bucket off an open-court steal. “After the first timeout we collected ourselves and just did what we do best, which is defense and brought the energy.”
Ismail finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
San Gabriel showed in the third quarter that it wasn't done, utilizing some stellar shooting from beyond the three-point arc. The Matadors hit four shots from long range in the third period, including three from Serena Tran, as San Gabriel rallied to within 38-37.
The Rebels responded by putting the clamps down defensively. Prep held its opponent scoreless for nearly seven minutes down the stretch in putting together a 17-point lead before cruising to the 58-47 victory.
“I think at halftime we came out really pumped,” said Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura. “We like to come out in the third quarter and put a stamp on things and I think we got ahead of ourselves. We were chasing everything around and giving them easy baskets.”
The Rebels improved to 5-0 this season. The team had won its previous four games by an average score of 60-19.
“I think that they realize they can be there for each other and play as a team,” Kyomura said when asked what he hopes the Rebels take away from being challenged for the first time this season by San Gabriel.
Renae Tamura also had 13 points for Prep, while teammate Lacy Coan added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Judy Huang scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished three assists for San Gabriel.
Flintridge Prep next plays in the finals of the Pioneer Shootout at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.