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Rally falls short for Flintridge Prep in CIF second-round boys’ basketball loss to Norwalk

LA CAÑADA — In the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA boys’ basketball playoffs, Flintridge Prep and Norwalk were nearly inseparable through three quarters.

Then, at the start of the fourth quarter, the Lancers began to pull away, aided by a lengthy scoring run, and widened their margin against the Rebels.

Though the Rebels came as close as four points in the final minute, Flintridge Prep’s rally came up short as it fell, 53-47, in the second-round at home Friday.

“I’m very proud of our young men,” Flintridge Prep first-year coach Ramses Barden said. “I’m very proud of our institution and school, Flintridge Prep. I’m grateful for the trust, the energy and commitment we were given from our young men, the families and the community. That’s what I’m most proud about. I can’t wait to get to work. I want to play next week or tomorrow, if we could.”

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The Lancers (18-11; third in the Suburban League) pulled away in the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 44-32 lead over the Rebels (13-14; third in Prep League) with 5:20 to go. Norwalk senior Chris Herrera contributed eight points on the run, including two three-pointers.

Flintridge Prep freshman Andrew Jordan responded with a hard-fought lay-up and a three-point play to cut the Norwalk lead to 47-40 with 4:25 remaining.

A pair of free throws and a put-back two from Lancers junior Jayden Williams followed to put Norwalk ahead, 51-43, with 2:12 to go.

“They’re a really talented team,” Barden said. “Talented in terms of team chemistry, energy and team dynamic. They got some good basketball players. All of them. Those guys are difficult to deal with consistently and it seemed like if we found an answer for one, we lost an answer some place else.”

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Baskets from Rebels sophomore Jake Woo and junior Matthew Ho cut the Lancers lead to 51-47 with 41 seconds left, but the visitors held on.

“Our guys have been through a lot,” Norwalk coach Brent Campanelli said. “I have a lot of seniors and I think they just took that opportunity to put it all on their backs. Chris Herrera, man, lights out in that fourth quarter. Unbelievable. ... We followed his lead and got some rebounds. The game plan didn’t change. Guys just stepped up.”

Rebels senior Jack Cartwright led Flintridge Prep with 14 points, senior Kevin Ashworth added 12 points and six rebounds and Ho, a junior, finished with six points, six rebounds and six assists.

“We just tried to take it one possession at a time,” Ho said. “That’s what coach told us in the timeout. [Herrera] hit a couple of big threes for them and we knew we had to slow him down a little bit, get some stops and get some quick buckets.

“We had a couple lay-ups and Andrew had that nice and-one that really kept us in it. Fell a little short, but it was a really good effort at the end.”

Herrera led the Lancers with 25 points, making six three-pointers. The senior added five rebounds and four steals, while Williams finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

The Rebels led, 5-3, early in the first quarter, but a 10-0 run by the Lancers set up an eight-point lead with 40.8 seconds to go in the quarter.

Ashworth knocked down a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to end the quarter with trailing the Rebels, 13-8.

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A three from Cartwright cut the Norwalk lead to 13-11 to open the second quarter. A free throw from Garrett and another Flintridge Prep three from Kim tied it at 14 with 4:30 to play in the half.

Norwalk responded with a three-pointer of its own to take the lead with 4:09 to go. A three-point play from Woo left the two teams knotted at 17.

The Rebels took their first lead since 5:14 in the first quarter on a basket from Ho. However, the Lancers took a 20-19 advantage at halftime on a wide-open three from senior Kevin Garrett.

Norwalk maintained it’s lead throughout the third quarter and led by five points. But Flintridge Prep was able to keep it at a one-possession game as the Lancers led, 32-30, at the end of the quarter.

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