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Gonzalez propels Flintridge Prep girls' basketball past La Salle

Gonzalez propels Flintridge Prep girls' basketball past La Salle
Flintridge Prep's Sofia Gonzalez drives to the basket against La Salle defenders during Thursday's nonleague game. (James Carbone)

PASADENA — The second quarter of the nonleague game between the Flintridge Prep and La Salle girls’ basketball had both teams struggling to find any momentum on offense.

But as the final half half played out at La Salle High, the Rebels took full advantage of their post presence, which translated to scoring runs.

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Flintridge Prep forward Sofia Gonzalez, in particular, capitalized on many of those opportunities, as the sophomore scored 32 points and racked up nine rebounds to fuel the Rebels to a 74-32 win Thursday.

“My teammates really helped me to get there,” Gonzalez said. “It’s important that I am able to trust my teammates and I know that they can see me and I can see them back. My 32 points goes to my teammates, and not me.”

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The sophomore scored 18 points on eight-of-nine shooting in the final quarter to finish with as many points as La Salle.

“I think that rebounding gets me going and that being able to grab a couple and putting it back up and getting a foul can get me going like it did in the fourth quarter,” said Gonzalez, who also had two steals.

Flintridge Prep, which advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship game last season, outscored La Salle by its largest margin in the fourth quarter, 23-8.

La Salle kept it close early in the first quarter, but Flintridge Prep guard Andie Kim drained back-to-back three-pointers to spark an 11-2 Rebels run for a 19-8 lead.

The Rebels offense slowed and only scored six points in a four-minute span in the second quarter, as the Lancers pulled to within eight with 2:56 left in the half.

Though Flintridge Prep added five points in the final minute of the second quarter, the Rebels missed 10 shots and went into halftime with a 33-16 lead.

“We got in to some one-on-one basketball or even one-on-two basketball and we didn’t like the odds there,” Flintridge Prep co-coach Kevin Kiyomura said. “We started to move the ball around and play as a team like we normally do and we were able to right the ship.”

Flintridge Prep guard Kaitlyn Chen, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, added 16 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Rebels.

As Gonzalez sat out early in the third quarter, Chen worked the floor to push the Rebels to an 8-0 run and a 47-22 lead.

“Coach just reminded us that it’s a team sport and we had to play together and that’s how we play best,’ said Chen, who had eight points in the third quarter. “We started to focus on playing with each other and helping each other get great shots.”

Flintridge Prep forced La Salle into six third-quarter turnovers compared to four first-half turnovers for the Lancers.

“We started doing what we do in transition and that’s what defines us as a team and we moved the ball around a lot better,” Chen said.

Flintridge Prep embarked on a 12-2 run that ended with 5:10 left in the game for a 63-26 lead on a pair of free throws.

La Salle did not make a field goal until four minutes left in the game, before Gonzalez added nine straight points for Flintridge Prep.

The Rebels committed no turnovers in the final frame and allowed the Lancers to score just eight points per quarter.

“We kept the court spread and the opportunities are easier for us,” Kiyomura said. “We were just making better decisions on the basketball.”

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