PASADENA — The Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball team blazed its way to a commanding lead over South Pasadena on Saturday afternoon by holding the Tigers without a field goal in the third quarter.
In the final period, the shoe was on the other foot, as it was the Rebels going cold from the field and allowing the Tigers to come back from down 16 points to make it a two-possession game in the closing minutes.
Prep never did get a field goal over the final 7:40 of the game, but through strong defense and late clutch free-throw shooting was able to clinch a 45-37 win and third place in the Pasadena Poly Tournament.
“I don’t worry about us going into [scoring] lulls because it’s going to happen from time to time,” Rebels interim Coach Todd Frost said. “I thought our defense was strong during that period. Even though we weren’t scoring, they weren’t scoring either.
“Defense is going to win games for us because our shot isn’t always going to fall.”
Defensive pressure keyed the Rebels’ 12-1 run over the first five minutes of the third quarter, a span that saw Prep increase its 25-19 halftime lead to 37-20.
Offensive rebounding was critical, as well, with eight of Prep’s points during the run coming on second chances.
Megan Musashi, who led the Rebels with 15 points and nine rebounds, fed Courtney Takeda for an open three after pulling down one of her six offensive boards and Deanna Watson did the same on the very next possession — dishing to Takeda for a corner three and a 33-19 lead with 4:50 left in the quarter.
Watson, who finished with seven points, nine rebounds and two steals, closed the run with a putback at the 3:06 mark.
“We’re not really a transition kind of team,” said Frost, who got nine points and five steals from Takeda. “We’re not one that gets the ball up and down the court and we’re going to take 15-20 seconds every possession.
“Every extra possession we get, that’s another 15-20 seconds we can take off the clock before we have to put a shot up. You have to limit possessions for the other team when you have a nice lead late in the game like that.”
The Rebels pushed their lead to 40-24 to begin the fourth quarter, but by the 1:40 mark, South Pasadena had closed to within 40-34 on consecutive three-pointers by Kelsey Nakamura and Kelsey Lee, who led the Tigers with 11 points apiece.
On the very next Rebels possession, the Tigers began intentionally fouling to stop the clock, but didn’t fare well with that strategy. Musashi knocked down two from the foul line to break the scoring drought with 1:38 to play and hit two more with just over a minute left to put the Rebels back up by 10.