SAN GABRIEL — Though still early in the season, things appear to be turning around for the members of the Renaissance Academy basketball team.
There won’t be any parades up and down Foothill Boulevard in the next month, but at least the Wildcats seem to be getting acclimated as a unit after the 2007-08 squad reached the CIF-State Division V championship contest last winter in Sacramento.
The Wildcats will take any and all victories, even at the expense of a neighbor.
Renaissance picked up a 54-45 victory against Flintridge Prep on Tuesday night in the championship game of the San Gabriel High Tournament.
Renaissance (6-7) used a strong second quarter to overcome Flintridge Prep (6-4). The Wildcats outscored the Rebels, 18-8, in the second quarter and never looked back.
“It’s the first time this season in which the guys are healthy and being able to play to their capabilities,” Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke said. “We are starting to come around, and we will be OK.
“We are on our way to being a pretty good team.”
The Wildcats showed that Tuesday night with aggressive rebounding and numerous fast-break points. In the final 90 seconds of the second quarter, for instance, Renaissance got one basket each on fast breaks from Dushon Carter and Gil Tacita to build a 33-24 halftime lead.
Renaissance forward Bryann Bourgeois contributed seven points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks en route to being named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“I thought we played a good game by playing hard,” said Bourgeois, whose squad reached the title game Monday with a 51-47 win against Lawndale. “It’s really good to win and be named MVP.”
Renaissance got 12 points from guard/forward Derrick Simms, who was selected to the all-tournament team.
Flintridge Prep, which captured the Prep League championship last season, got 27 points from forward/center Kenyatta Smith and eight points from guard Aaron Fried. Smith and Edmund Chow, who registered six points, were named to the all-tournament squad.
Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara, whose team owned a 19-15 lead early in the second quarter, said the Rebels struggled at times on defense.
“[Renaissance] got some easy baskets, and we had some turnovers,” said Ohara, whose team advanced to the championship game Monday with a 54-47 win against San Gabriel. “They are athletic, defend well and they shot the ball well.”
Renaissance got 12 points from Carter.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.