LA CAÑADA — Behind the athleticism of senior guard Andrew Tsangeos and the inside presence of senior forward Dante Fregoso, the Flintridge Prep boys' basketball team enjoyed the latest chapter of its rivalry versus Pasadena Poly.
Tsangeos scored a game-high 28 points and added nine rebounds, while Fregoso tallied 12 points and 15 rebounds as the Rebels pulled away for a 56-40 win against Pasadena Poly on Friday evening in Prep League play.
For Tsangeos, the victory was sweet redemption.
"We lost two close ones to them last year, games that we could have won," said the senior of the Panthers' 67-60 and 45-42 victories last season. "We have the speed and athleticism to run past Poly and that's what we tried to do tonight."
With the victory, CIF Southern Section Division V-AA fourth-ranked Flintridge Prep improved to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in league as the squad has already eclipsed its two-win total in Prep League action last season.
Despite monster efforts from Tsangeos and Fregoso, the No. 16-ranked Panthers (12-4, 0-2) managed to only trail, 39-31, after three quarters and keep the contest a mostly half-court affair.
That changed, however, in the fourth.
After Poly's Jackson Hayes pulled the Panthers within 39-33 to begin the quarter on a jumper, Flintridge Prep embarked on a game-winning 15-3 run that included plenty of Tsangeos and Fregoso.
Tsangeos poured in nine points and highlighted his range, first with a fadeaway jumper followed by a runner through the lane. Tsangeos' crowing moment was a step-back three-pointer with 2:21 remaining that put the Rebels ahead, 54-36, and iced the game.
When the team wasn't going outside to Tsangeos, the Rebels went inside with Fregoso, whose three baskets during the 15-3 run all came from five feet or closer, including two offensive putbacks.
"We look for each other all game long and we support each other," said Fregoso of Tsangeos. "If he has a better shot than I do, then I'll definitely give it to him. When I have the better shot, then he passes to me. We understand each other and we understand our strengths."
A back-and-forth first quarter ended in a tie at 11 when Flintridge Prep's Kendall Kikkawa (11 points) buried a three-pointer with two seconds remaining.
It wasn't until late in the second quarter when Flintridge Prep finally created a bit of separation.
Poly took its last lead, 18-17, with 2:54 left in the second quarter after a three-pointer from Ryan Bowen, who tied teammate John Genske with the team lead of 13 points.
Flintridge Prep jumped back ahead, 20-18, with a triple from Jonathan Le off an assist from Tsangeos with 2:21 left in the half.
The three-pointer kick-started a quarter-closing 10-2 run for the Rebels that culminated on another triple from Kikkawa with 33.6 seconds remaining as Flintridge Prep led at the half, 27-20.
While the Panthers pulled within 32-28 in the third quarter with 3:15 left after a jumper by Mateo Taylor, the Rebels finished the quarter with a 7-3 advantage to take a 39-31 lead after three.
"Dante and I work well together and we know where we're going to be at all times," Tsangeos said. "If we're on, I don't think anybody can stop us. Against Chadwick, they couldn't stop us; against Poly, they couldn't stop us."