Rebels poised to peak as CIF run deepens

GLENDALE — Throughout most of the regular season, the Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball team seemed to play its best ball in the first and third quarters. Ultimately, not being able to close out close games in the fourth quarter led to some difficult losses.

Recently, however, the Rebels have been at their best in the fourth quarter and haven’t allowed teams to come back in the fourth quarter throughout the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs.

“We are playing our best basketball now,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Todd Frost, whose team will battle third-seeded St. Paul in a quarterfinal home game at 7 p.m. today. “We’ve been able to adjust on the fly during games to whatever the circumstances are.

“Now that we are playing better in the second and fourth quarters, we’ve been able to extend our leads.”

Flintridge Prep (22-6) finished second in the Prep League behind rival Pasadena Poly before beginning its playoff journey with easy victories against unseeded St. Matthias and 11th-seeded Milken Community. Behind 22 points from center Deanna Watson and 19 from guard Megan Musashi, the Rebels picked up a 57-37 second-round victory against Milken Community on Saturday.

St. Paul (18-10) finished fourth in the tough Del Rey League behind Bishop Montgomery, Bishop Amat and top-seeded Gardena Serra. The Swordsmen have notched postseason victories against Lancaster Desert Christian and 14th-seeded Providence. St. Paul coasted to a 58-22 second-round home win against Providence.

Frost said the Rebels will look to use home-court advantage to dethrone the Swordsmen.

“In our gym, it’s pretty intimidating for a visitor,” Frost said. “The crowd is on top of the court and it’s loud.

“When you are not used to it, it can be intimidating.”

Musashi, an All-Area and All-CIF pick last season, said the Rebels have performed well in front of their own fans.

“It’s a lot easier playing at home because you don’t have to go far and we feed of the fans’ energy,” said Musashi, who’s also making her fourth trip to the CIF quarterfinals in her varsity career. “We also have a lot of experienced players who have gone far in the playoffs.”

The winner of the Flintridge Prep-St. Paul game will face second-seeded Cerritos Valley Christian or seventh-seeded Campbell Hall in a semifinal contest Saturday at a site to be determined. Today’s other quarterfinal games will pit top-seeded Canyon Springs against ninth-seeded St. Bonaventure and fourth-seeded Santa Clara against 12th-seeded Brentwood.

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