SOUTH PASADENA — Had what happened Wednesday night occurred during the regular season, there might be cause for alarm.
For the time being, Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball Coach Kenny Fisher will give his team the benefit of the doubt.
“We have only played two summer games and had one practice,” said Fisher, whose team suffered a 51-19 loss to neighbor La Cañada in a South Pasadena High Summer League game. “It’s not that bad, we will be OK.
“We will get better, and you do that by getting experience playing and going up against teams like La Cañada.”
Flintridge Prep competed without senior-to-be guard Megan Musashi. Musashi, who earned All-CIF Division V-AA first-team honors after averaging 20.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season, missed the contest because of illness.
Some of the Rebels arrived just before the opening tip off, and Fisher showed up four minutes into the game after getting caught in a traffic jam while making the journey from the San Fernando Valley.
The Rebels, who finished third in the Prep League last season after winning or sharing the league crown from 2002-08, never seemed to be in focus against the talented Spartans.
They never led and didn’t score until forward Deanna Watson converted a layup to cut La Cañada’s lead to 11-2 with 13 minutes left in the first of two 20-minute halves.
The Spartans grabbed a 21-6 lead, forcing Fisher to call a time out with 7:09 left. Flintridge Prep guard Kelsey Merchant made a three-pointer from the left side just as the buzzer sounded to end the half to make it 34-16.
Merchant provided the lone scoring for the Rebels, who advanced to the quarterfinals last winter before being eliminated by top-seeded and eventual-champion Santa Maria St. Joseph, with a three-pointer to make it 47-19 with four minutes remaining. Merchant’s basket snapped a 16-minute scoring drought.
“La Cañada is an aggressive and experienced team, that’s why I like playing them,” Fisher said. “The kids are going to get used to playing teams like this [during the summer] so that you’ll be ready when you see teams like that in November when you are playing under pressure.
“We just want to get them playing.”
Flintridge Prep got a team-high six points apiece from Merchant and Watson, who collected 259 rebounds and blocked a team-high 55 shots last season en route to earning all-league first-team accolades.
Guard Kristen Shum had five points for Flintridge Prep, which got two from forward Frances McCloskey and fielded only seven players.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or email@example.com.