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Bell-Jeff win is memorable

Erik Boal

Kenny Fisher never imagined Bellarmine- Jefferson High’s full-court,

in-your-face, trapping defense would cause so many problems for his

pressure-oriented Flintridge Prep squad, but it did.

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But even with a 15-point second-half lead, Bryan Camacho never

expected the Rebel girls’ basketball team to go away, which it

didn’t.

And those were only two of the many reasons why both coaches will

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probably never forget Saturday night’s memorable CIF Southern Section

Division IVA second-round playoff contest at Flintridge Prep.

The Rebels nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback against the

division’s No. 2 seed -- whittling Bell-Jeff’s lead to one point with

3:56 remaining. But behind the poise and leadership of senior Jennae

Peoples, the Guards executed when they had to down the stretch to

post an emotional 47-41 victory.

"[Flintridge Prep] was relentless, and they proved why they’re a

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championship team,” said Camacho, whose squad -- despite allowing a

9-0 run to open the fourth quarter -- advanced to quarterfinals at

7:30 tonight, when it will host Downey Calvary Chapel, a 49-37 winner

against Newport Beach Sage Hill.

“We knew they weren’t going to lay down and we were definitely

pushed, but that’s what we expected. When you’re making a

championship run, you’re always going to be tested.

“When both teams rely so much on the press, it’s going to be a

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game of runs and so you live by it or you die by it. They made a

great run, but we were able to hold our ground. Both teams played so

hard and it was just a great basketball game.”

For Flintridge Prep (16-6) -- which suffered its first home

playoff loss in Fisher’s 11-year tenure -- the second quarter was

anything but great, as it committed 11 of its 20 first-half

turnovers, allowed Peoples to score 10 of her game-high 19 points and

surrendered a late 10-2 run to trail, 33-20, at the break.

“We didn’t handle the pressure very well and that was the game

right there,” said Fisher, whose squad committed 32 turnovers and

shot 15 of 48 (31.3%) from the field.

“It’s the first time I can recall a team bothering us like that.”

But even with their first-half shortcomings, the Rebels made up

some ground in the third quarter, before relying on the play of

senior Shari Quan (15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and six

steals) to make a big push to start the fourth.

Quan’s two free throws closed the deficit to 42-41, but despite

having three possessions to tie or take the lead, the Rebels couldn’t

get over the hump, and didn’t score the rest of the way.

“I knew we could comeback, but we just ran out of gas,” said

Fisher, who saw Bell-Jeff (21-4) seal the win with a pair of clutch

baskets by Kelly Hobbs (11 points ) and a Peoples’ free throw in the

final 3:25.

“But give [Bell-Jeff] credit, because they made the plays when

they had to.”

Two of those plays came from Peoples, who kept a crucial

possession alive by tipping a loose ball to Hobbs to put the Guards

up three. The do-it-all guard -- who took control while Camacho stood

back during a Bell-Jeff timeout with 2:19 left -- then split two

Rebel defenders on the next possession to find the junior underneath

to extend the lead to 46-41.

“It was all about sucking it up and reiterating what coach says,

that it’s all about heart,” said Peoples, who added 10 rebounds,

seven steals, five assists and three blocks.

"[During their run] we lost focus and we got too comfortable. We

lost sight of what we had been doing, so in order to make my

teammates better, I had push to myself to do better. It came down to

working hard, staying focused and having heart.”

*--*

BOX SCORE

*--*

*--*

Bell-Jeff 10 23 9 5 -- 47

Flintridge Prep 9 11 12 9 -- 41 *--*

*--*

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON

Peoples 19, 10 rebounds, 7 steals, 5 assists and 3 blocks, Hobbs 11

and 6 steals, T. Reyes 5, K. Van Dyke 4, Morgan 3, Ju. Van Dyke 3,

Napolitano 2. * Three-pointers: Ju. Van Dyke

FLINTRIDGE PREP

S. Quan 15, 11 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists, K. Kimble 9, 9

rebounds and 5 blocks, Lawrence 7 and 7 rebounds, J. Quan 6 and 3

steals, Wakasa 4, Young 4 assists and 3 steals. * Three-pointers:

S. Quan 2, J. Quan

*--*


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