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.
But even with a 15-point second-half lead, Bryan Camacho never
expected the Rebel girls’ basketball team to go away, which it
And those were only two of the many reasons why both coaches will
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
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
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
“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.”
Bell-Jeff 10 23 9 5 -- 47
Flintridge Prep 9 11 12 9 -- 41 *--*
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
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