Senior night at Flintridge Prep’s gym turned into a lopsided massacre as the Rebels crushed Chadwick, 75-41, to go undefeated in league play and take the Prep league title.
“We usually start slow, like this team, where we were 1-3,” said Rebels Head Coach Garret O’Hara. “Now we’re 17-6 and that’s partly scheduling, knowing that we’re peaking for league and CIF. They’ve made progress, they’re playing their best basketball now and that’s what you want to see.”
For some, it was a more of a sobering moment.
“It’s bittersweet,” said senior Arash Jafarnia, who managed four points on the evening in his final regular season game with the Rebels. “[But] it’s been a good career and I’m happy that we won.”
At evening’s end, the numbers told the story. The Rebels had four scorers in double digits, Chadwick had five players score all night. Jonathan Woo (14 points, four steals), Kenyatta Smith (12 points, seven rebounds) and Edmund Chow (seven points, four rebounds, four steals) put up strong performances. Senior Arthur Kang added eight points.
Freshman Kory Hamane nearly stole the show at the end, though, putting up 10 points and a steal in the fourth quarter.
It started a little slower than that, though, as both teams struggled with possession, which led to turnovers. Prep (17-6, 8-0 in Prep league play) found their groove sooner, though, when Smith was fouled while hitting a two-pointer. He made the free throw and Prep didn’t look back.
Smith’s three-point play led to a 13-0 run by the Rebels who had a 10-point lead four minutes into the game and went into the half with a 21-6 lead.
Chadwick’s Ryan Hood and Hank Trumbull did their best to get the Dolphins back in the game, hitting some mid-range jumpers and layups and closed the lead to 23-13, but Hamane nailed a three-pointer and Woo and Chow added two each to ensure Prep had a 33-16 lead at the half. Hamane finished the game with 13 points.
At the start of the third quarter, Hood hit a three-pointer to make it 33-19, and that’s as close as the Dolphins (5-15, 1-6) got to tying it up in the second half. Prep ran the courts again that quarter, 20-6. They led 53-22 going into the fourth quarter.
Now all that lies ahead for the Rebels is CIF.
“We’re feeling prepared for it,” Coach O’Hara said, “depending on matchups. We’ll probably get a home game first round. Last year we made an early exit and the guys expected maybe a little more. So that’s going to linger in our minds, but [having] four starters back is going to help us.”
Jafarnia shared the optimism.
“Last year we went into CIF with a 21-win season and we got bounced out in the second round,” Jafarnia said. “I’m confident, but we have to play well. I’m confident our team can do well, but we have to come together and keep playing as we are.”