Providence boys’ basketball bests Flintridge Prep, heads to tournament title game

BURBANK — Jordan Shelley liked the aggressive style of play displayed by the Providence High boys’ basketball team for the first three quarters. Not so much in the fourth quarter.

It proved to be a valuable lesson learned by Providence.

Shelley finished with a game-high 16 points Friday, as Providence held on for a 58-51 victory against Flintridge Prep in a pool-play contest of the 29th annual Paul Sutton Tip-Off Classic.

Providence, which held a 53-34 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, will meet Agoura or San Marino in the tournament’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Flintridge Prep will compete against San Marino or Agoura in the third-place contest at 4:30.

“I thought we played very well in the first three quarters and we had a hard time closing it out in the fourth quarter,” Providence first-year coach Brandon Lincoln said. “You learn from those type of things and we will.

“We’re a little short-handed with AJ Bautista having a flu bug and we are coming together. I liked our effort for the most part. We played well in the transition and we forced some turnovers that led to baskets.”

Providence (3-0) received 14 points from Tevon Khudatyan and 10 from Bryce Whitaker to turn back Flintridge Prep (2-1).

Shelley, a sophomore, scored on a layup to make it 40-28 with 4:45 left in the third quarter. The Pioneers’ seemingly big lead was severely narrowed by the Rebels through the remainder of the contest. The Rebels limited the Pioneers, who captured the Independence League championship last season, to five fourth-quarter points.

Flintridge Prep, which finished second in the Prep League last season, trimmed the deficit to 57-50 on a basket by Jack Cartwright with 30.8 seconds left. Shelley then put the finishing touch on the victory with a free throw with 17.4 left.

Providence held a 34-21 halftime lead after leading, 18-11, after the first quarter.

Shelley had a steal and scored on a layup to make it 23-11 with 5:45 to play in the second quarter. He scored on another layup to give the Pioneers a 30-19 lead with 1:02 left in the first half.

Flintridge Prep held a 7-6 lead following a basket by Majeed Ismail with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter. Providence closed out the quarter on a 12-4 run, capped by a basket by Khudatyan with 55 seconds left.

Flintridge Prep got 14 points from Matthew Ho, eight from Ismail and seven from Cartwright.

“We didn’t give up and we had to adjust to their physical style of play,” Flintridge Prep coach Garrett Ohara said. “We were a little stagnant in the first half and give credit to Providence for playing well. We got more aggressive and we made a real good run.

“We have eight new varsity guys, so they are learning and getting more experience. It will help in league and the playoffs.”

charles.rich@latimes.com

Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich

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