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Journey of 1,000 points leads to win for Ismail, Flintridge Prep

PASADENA — On an evening in which the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team took control of the Prep League, the Rebels also enjoyed an individual celebration with rival Mayfield.

Rebels senior forward Tala Ismail and Cubs friend Megan Villar both scored their 1,000th career points and were both recognized for their efforts during Flintridge Prep's 65-36 victory Wednesday afternoon.

With the win, the Rebels improved to 12-4 overall and 8-1 in league, while avenging a 56-43 setback to the Cubs in La Cañada Flintridge on Jan. 6. That loss snapped the Rebels' 20-game league winning streak.

Wednesday's win, though, has Flintridge Prep on course for a third consecutive league title, while the Cubs dropped to 8-6, 4-3.

"We've just been working on our defense and the last couple of games we've been really active," Flintridge Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura said. "We just wanted to continue that and we knew that Mayfield was going to bring out our best game."

Flintridge Prep certainly played like a world-beater on Wednesday as junior guard Taylor Yoshida was one of three Rebels to score in double figures and led her team with 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals.



Senior guard Natalie Rozman added 14 points, while junior guard Renae Tamura chipped in 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Rebels.

More than scoring, Flintridge Prep's offense and defense were in sync as the Rebels scored 28 of the game's first 31 points in racing to a 28-3 advantage after a pair of free throws from Natalie Benn with 5:27 left in the first half.

The first quarter alone proved too damaging for the Cubs, who trailed, 19-3, after committing 10 turnovers and shooting one for 16 with a three-pointer from Villar at 6:07 accounting for the squad's only points.

It wasn't until an offensive put back from sophomore Trinity Gomez with 4:47 remaining in the second quarter that Mayfield snapped its drought to pull within 28-5 of Flintridge Prep.

The Rebels eventually led, 34-12, at the break and never relented en route to victory in a contest in which at least one Rebel felt a point had to be made.

"I think we had something to prove to ourselves and to the rest of the league," Tamura said. "They beat us last time and they had a great game last time. We came in and we knew we had to play good defense to win."

The last time the Rebels played, Ismail missed the game with a knee injury. The senior forward added nine points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

Although Ismail has played in limited action due to her injury, she entered Wednesday's affair with 993 points, a fact she wasn't aware of until right before tip-off.

"I had no idea and right before the game started [co]-coach Jayme [Chan] came up to me and told everyone, 'Guys, Tala needs seven points to get to 1,000,'" Ismail said. "I was in shock."

Point No. 1,000 for a career came when she sank the second of two free throws with 1:21 left in the third quarter to give the Rebels a 48-18 advantage.

Villar, who led all players with 21 points, began the day with 991 points and hit her magical 1,000 point on an offensive put back 17 seconds later.

Both were lauded in between the third and fourth quarters when Mayfield athletic director Lynda Gilbert made an announcement to the crowd.

"Megan and I are really close, so it's awesome to celebrate with someone who also got 1,000," said Ismail, who had played in the same club programs with Villar since eighth grade. "It's a great win and a cool moment."

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Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com

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Twitter: @campadresports

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