LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' basketball team is still trying to figure out how to solve its biggest problem of the season.
The Tologs have a habit of starting slow and then hustling to make up deficits.
At times, the Tologs have made up the difference and rallied to win. At others, they haven't been able to comeback.
In Friday's pool-play game of the La Canada New Year's Holiday Ball Classic, the Tologs fell behind early once again.
This time, they were able to come back and win.
Sacred Heart surrendered 14 first-quarter points and trailed by four, but allowed just 20 points the rest of the way, defeating Village Christian, 49-34, in the final pool-play game for both teams.
Sacred Heart (9-5) will play its final game of the tournament at 2:30 p.m. today.
“If I knew how to solve the problem, I would,” Tolog Coach Ty Buxman said. “It's a real young team, with only two players who have real varsity experience. We're learning how to come out and play hard.”
One of his top players, Dana Budzyn, has noticed her team's trend at the beginning of games.
“We've started slow, and that's been the biggest difference at the end of games,” she said.
By the end of Friday's game, Budzyn and teammate Casey Johnson were the difference-makers.
The guards ran an offense that featured stellar ball movement and high-percentage shots from a variety of players.
Budzyn had a game-high 18 points and Johnson had 16 points, including six in the fourth quarter, to lead the Tologs. They combined to sink 10 field goals, nine after the first quarter.
“They saw each other pretty well,” Buxman said.
Seven other Tologs scored against a frustrated Crusader squad that fell to 8-7.
The Crusaders had their struggles on offense.
They started strong, taking command in the first quarter. But they had just six points in the second quarter and five in the third, as Sacred Heart took a 35-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
After needing eight minutes to score its first 14 points, Village Christian took another 18 minutes to score its next 14 points. Samantha Pyros and Aubrey Pyburn each had 14 points for the Crusaders, who were one of 12 from the field in the third quarter.
“It started for us defensively,” Buxman said. “We put pressure on them. Our guards played great defense and our post players played great defense.”