LA CAÑADA — AJ Nicassio has established himself as a top boys’ volleyball player at Flintridge Prep by registering plenty of kills and digs.
Now Nicassio is looking to contribute in a variety of ways while competing on the school’s basketball team.
Nicassio turned in one of his best efforts of the season, as he recorded a game-high 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks to propel host Flintridge Prep to a 50-45 victory against Duarte on Monday.
“It’s a lot like volleyball in that you try to come out and bring a certain energy to the team,” said Nicassio, a reigning All-Area volleyball honoree. “You feed off of one another and you try to get on a roll.
“I thought we came out tonight and played well at both ends and we made some big shots toward the end to get the win.”
Flintridge Prep (4-4) scored the last seven points of the game in the final two-plus minutes to fend off Duarte (4-6), which captured the CIF Southern Section Division V-A championship last season.
Nicassio, a senior forward, had nine points and seven rebounds in the second half for the Rebels, who split the Prep League title last season with rival Pasadena Poly.
Kevin Ashworth collected 10 points, including a three-pointer from the left side to give Flintridge Prep a 46-45 lead with 1:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“That was a big shot right there by Kevin,” said Flintridge Prep coach Garrett Ohara, who has led the Rebels to 14 league titles and one CIF crown since the start of the 2001-02 season. “We did a good job finding a way to get that shot.
“I thought we did a very good overall, especially in the first half. We have a smaller team, but AJ is our big guy. He can be a threat inside and and can shoot well from the outside.
Duarte took a 45-43 lead on a layup by Edward Snyder with 2:15 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels held a 37-36 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Flintridge Prep, ranked No. 15 in Division IV-AA, held a 23-19 halftime lead. Nicassio closed out the first-half scoring with 33 seconds left. Nicassio’s basket ended an 11-0 run by the Falcons, the No. 16 team in Division IV-A.
Nicassio gave the Rebels an 18-8 lead on a three-pointer with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter.
Flintridge Prep received eight points from John Lytle.