LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Last season, the Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball team ran through the Prep League to the tune of an undefeated title.
That hasn’t quite been the case this season, as the Rebels have found their league to be a bit more balanced. The competitive balance didn’t stop the Rebels from finding their way back to the top of league again, however.
Host Flintridge Prep clinched at least a share of its third straight league championship Tuesday night, as Kory Hamane finished with 17 points and Kenyatta Smith contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 51-41 league victory against Webb.
Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara, who has piloted the Rebels to eight league championships since 2002, said the Rebels didn’t play their best game Tuesday. A four-day layoff might have contributed to some moments of rustiness.
“We had one practice in that time, but I still thought they might play a little better,” Ohara said. “I’m a little concerned that we are not playing our best right now, but credit our defense for working hard again.”
The Rebels (17-6 and 6-1 in league) can clinch the league crown outright Friday with a win at home against Rio Hondo Prep or a loss by rival Pasadena Poly (19-4, 5-2) against visiting Chadwick. Pasadena Poly, which split two contests with Flintridge Prep this season, topped Rio Hondo Prep at home Tuesday night.
“One of our first goals is to win league [outright],” Ohara said. “We would like not to share it.”
Flintridge Prep swept the two head-to-head meetings with Webb (11-11, 2-6), including a 76-73 overtime road win Jan. 22. The Gauls held a 12-11 lead after the first quarter Tuesday before the Rebels regrouped. The Rebels outscored the Gauls, 18-7, in the second quarter to build a 27-19 halftime lead.
Hamane, a sophomore guard, had 11 first-half points. Smith, a junior center and a reigning All-Area member, finished with 10 second-half points.
The Rebels didn’t receive any points from senior forward Nick Ostiller. However, Ostiller found other ways to contribute.
“I look to set the table for my teammates,” said Ostiller, who finished with a game-high 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. “I’m not a guy who’s going to score a lot of points.
“It’s a big win for us and we want to win league on our own. We definitely need to play a lot better going into the playoffs [next week].”
Ohara praised Ostiller’s performance.
“He’s our workhorse,” said Ohara, whose team bounced back from a lopsided 56-35 road loss to Pasadena Poly on Wednesday. “He’s the one who goes to work for us by getting us started offensively.
“We don’t need him to always score.”
Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a layup to give Flintridge Prep a 37-25 lead with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
Webb closed to within 45-39 on a three-pointer by senior forward Chandler Talleur with 4:01 left in the game. On Flintridge Prep’s next possession, senior point guard Edmund Chow made a three-pointer to make it 48-39. Chow registered 11 points.
Webb got a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds from junior Kane Willis.