LA CANADA — Throughout most of their regular season, the members of the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team thrived during the second half of their games.
Conditioning and a penchant for superior rebounding paved the way for the Rebels to achieve success. Now, those facets have spilled over to the playoffs.
Flintridge Prep provided another example of its tenacious rebounding Wednesday night, as Kinsey Thompson finished with 13 rebounds and Katherine Bogaard made a late big three-point shot to power fourth-seeded Flintridge Prep to a 44-41 home win against fifth-seeded Desert in a CIF Southern Section Division V-AA quarterfinal contest.
Flintridge Prep (19-7) will meet top-seeded Sierra Canyon or ninth-seeded Aquinas in a semifinal contest Saturday. The Rebels advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2008, when they competed in Division IV-A.
“Sometimes, it’s just about making the right adjustments,” said Thompson, who collected eight points and three blocks. “We were strong physically and we have to do things like boxing out and grabbing rebounds.
“They have a tall team, but we know how to rebound. We were down at halftime, but we figured out what we needed to do to get better.”
Bogaard gave Flintridge Prep, which finished second in the Prep League, the lead for good with a three-pointer to make it 43-41 with 1:29 remaining.
Flintridge Prep’s Gabby Zen made one of two free throws with 27.3 seconds left to extend the lead to 44-41. Desert (21-2) had a couple of chances to tie in the final 10 seconds, none being three-point shots.
“A huge shot by Katherine,” said Flintridge Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura, who got 11 points from Maya Okamoto. “Kinsey came up big with the rebounding once again.
“We try to keep things in the moment. We could have easily walked off being down [26-21] at halftime and said we had a great season. We are used to these kind of games. We try to get things going in the second half and make things difficult for the other teams.”
The Scorpions, who won the High Desert League championship, took a 41-40 lead after Shekinah Broadway (11 points and three steals) made the first of two free throws with 1:57 left. The Rebels closed out on a 4-0 run, highlighted by Bogaard’s three-pointer.
Okamoto said the Rebels received a stiff test from the Scorpions, who entered the game with an 11-game winning streak.
“They have a good team and those last few minutes were pretty stressful,” said Okamoto, who had seven second-half points. “Katherine made a beautiful shot and Gabby gave us that one free throw.
“We were able to pick it up defensively. That seemed to spark our offense.”
Flintridge Prep, which was eliminated in the first round the previous two postseasons, jumped out to a 12-4 lead on a three-point play by Lacy Coan with 4:26 left in the first quarter. Desert took its first lead at 22-21 on a pair of free throws by Jasmine Waterman with 1:56 remaining in the second quarter.
Coan finished with five points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals before fouling out with 1:57 remaining in the game. Teammate Tala Ismail added six points.
Jada Clark recorded 12 rebounds for Desert.