Defense carries Flintridge Prep girls' basketball past Temple City

LA CAÑADA — Through nearly the first month of the season, the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team has passed nearly every test.

The Rebels had won six of their first seven games heading into Tuesday night's nonleague home game against Temple City. Part of their success has been because of their ability to play sturdy defense.

Flintridge Prep played perhaps its best half of defense this season, as it allowed just nine second-half points to secure a 39-28 victory.

"It's about being a defensive-minded team first and then go from there," said Flintridge Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura, who splits the coaching chores with Jayme Chan. "If we aren't shooting well, then we know we have to make the stops. We played well in the second half and our offense got going.

"We were able to share the ball on offense throughout most of the game. Sometimes we still pass up shots to get better shots. We're still a young team and we look to our senior leadership for help."

Flintridge Prep seniors Renae Tamura and Taylor Yoshida stepped up for Flintridge Prep (7-1), which won the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA championship last season and is fifth in Division III-A.

Tamura, a reigning All-Area and division player of the year selection last season, finished with 12 points and three steals. Yoshida, who helped the Rebels win the Prep League championship last season, contributed 11 points and six rebounds to turn aside Temple City (3-6).

Flintridge Prep recorded seven steals en route to winning its fourth straight contest. Temple City scored three fourth-quarter points.

"Things have been going pretty well so far," Yoshida said. "We've been focusing on playing good defense and rebounding.

"Temple City came out strong to start the game and we knew we had to be a little more sharp on defense. We got some rebounds and steals to get us going. We also did a good job at passing the ball [in the second half]."

The Rams held a 15-8 lead after the first quarter before Flintridge Prep rallied to build a 22-19 halftime advantage. A basket by Kaitlyn Chen gave the Rebels an 18-17 lead with 1:33 remaining in the second quarter.

Flintridge Prep's Natalie Benn scored to extend the lead to 26-19 with 5:45 left in the third quarter.

A jump shot by Yoshida gave the Rebels a 33-25 lead with 6:26 to go in the fourth quarter.

Flintridge Prep received five points and seven rebounds from Madison Manning and four points from Chen.