SAN MARINO — For the first several weeks of the season, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy first-year basketball Coach Ty Buxman plans to pay extra attention to the progress being made by his players in the rebounding department.
It's an area that Buxman said the Tologs will need to continue improving on before beginning play in the rugged Mission League in January.
Buxman got a glimpse of what might be in store Tuesday night, as Flintridge Sacred Heart grabbed 33 rebounds en route to a 48-22 win against South Region in a pool-play contest of the San Gabriel Valley Classic at San Marino High.
“I thought we were much sharper than we were Monday night,” said Buxman, whose team tipped of its season Monday with a 49-41 pool-play defeat against Muir at San Marino. “Against Muir, we hardly got a single rebound on either side and they were getting second, third and even fourth chances to score.
“We were able to figure it out tonight. They are working on getting better at it. Every rebound can be critical, especially in a close game. We want to be able to limit teams to one and done on their shots.”
The Tologs, who have qualified for the playoffs the last four seasons, held South Region (0-2) without a basket until the final possession of the first half. Flintridge Sacred Heart finished with 18 first-half rebounds to grab a 21-4 advantage.
Melene Agakanian and Juliet Hook finished the contest with eight rebounds apiece for the Tologs, who got four assists and four steals from Dana Budzyn, a two-time all-league honoree.
The Tologs also got an impressive effort from freshman guard Jenna Tran. Tran finished with a game-high 15 points against South Region, which missed its first 19 shots from the floor, after finishing with 12 versus Muir.
“I thought we were able to mesh a lot better in this game,” said Tran, who collected 10 first-half points. “We are trying to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“It's a faster game for me and there's a lot more skill out there.”
Tran recorded a steal and converted it into a basket to give the Tologs a 7-1 lead with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Flintridge Sacred Heart received 14 points from Casey Johnson and four steals from Kelly Fradet. Johnson finished with eight points in the second half.
Flintridge Sacred Heart, which owned a 29-10 lead after the third quarter, will take part in another pool-play game at 6 p.m. Friday against San Marino at South Pasadena High. The eight-team tournament will conclude Saturday at San Marino, with the championship game beginning at 7:30 p.m.