LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — For most of its nonleague game Thursday night, the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team resembled a wall near midcourt.
The Rebels had several of their players at center court, daring Holy Family to dribble past them. Flintridge Prep forced numerous turnovers and turned them into baskets.
Flintridge Prep recorded 10 steals en route to a 55-23 home victory against Holy Family.
“We can’t be stagnant, so we have to play good defense and move the ball around,” said Flintridge Prep senior center Kinsey Thompson, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to help the Rebels (6-2) win their fourth game in a row. “We have people who can get steals and we can get some easy baskets.”
Flintridge Prep scored 16 points off turnovers, making it a difficult night for the Gaels (2-5). The Rebels scored eight straight points off Holy Family turnovers in the first quarter to build a 15-3 lead.
“Our transition defensively killed us and we had too many turnovers,” Holy Family Coach Ernest Siy said. “We gave up some easy weak-side layups.”
Holy Family scored on its first possession — a three-pointer by junior forward Kiara Ardines with 7:41 to play — before Flintridge Prep went to work. The Rebels then closed out the quarter on a 15-0 run.
The Gaels were held scoreless for nearly nine minutes until freshman guard Tabitha Ruiz converted on a three-point play to cut the deficit to 15-6 with 6:05 left in the second quarter.
Thompson had 14 first-half points to help the Rebels build a 25-9 halftime advantage. She made a short jump shot to give the Rebels a 19-8 lead with 3:30 left in the first half.
“It was good to see the team rally around Kinsey and get her the ball,” said Flintridge Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura, who received nine points and 10 rebounds from sophomore forward Lacy Coan. “I’m proud for what she got done.
“We talked about being aggressive early. Usually when we play good defense, we can force turnovers and transition out to offense. When we do that, we normally have strong first quarters.”
The Rebels got a strong effort from freshman guard Tala Ismail and junior guard Maya Okamoto. Ismail finished with nine points and Okamoto contributed five steals and five rebounds.
Sophomore guard Charise Talaro led Holy Family with nine points, including seven in the third quarter.
Siy said the Gaels are in the process of solidifying a starting lineup, beginning with Talaro and Ruiz making the transition to the varsity level.
“I think things will get better and I like the play of Charise and Ruiz,” said Siy, who got six points from Ruiz. “Our guard play will be very important as we move on.
“Flintridge Prep plays in a stronger league and a higher division. If there’s ever a good loss, this would be it because it’s about learning to make adjustments so that we will be ready for league.”