LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — With the Flintridge Prep boys' basketball team slated to carry only nine players this season, there's going to be plenty of opportunities for its players to specialize in certain facets of the game
In the case of junior guard Kory Hamane, it will mostly be about providing clutch perimeter shooting and opening up the scoring lane for senior center Kenyatta Smith.
Hamane began the season in fine fashion, as he contributed a game-high 17 points Tuesday night to help Prep post a convincing 72-56 nonleague home victory against Monrovia.
Hamane made his first three shots — all from three-point territory — in the first quarter and the Rebels never were seriously challenged by the Wildcats (0-1).
"It's the first game, and from the start, I was excited," said Hamane, who finished with 10 first-quarter points. "After I made my first shot, I was feeling it.
"I can hit the outside shot and hope people will come out to guard me."
The Rebels, who won their third Prep League title in a row last season and eighth since 2002, also got 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks from the Harvard University-bound Smith. Smith, a reigning All-Area first-team member, had 10 first-half rebounds. He also added nine second-half points.
Prep also received 16 points from senior forward Jared Norsworthy, including 13 in the second half, and 14 from freshman guard Robert Cartwright.
Hamane made his third three-pointer with 5:14 left in the first quarter to give Prep a 10-3 advantage. The Rebels extended their lead to 24-14 on a three-pointer by Cartwright with 2:43 left in the second quarter before closing out the first half on a buzzer-beating jump shot by sophomore guard Jedrick Eugenio to make it 30-17.
Flintridge Prep veteran Coach Garrett Ohara said Hamane's ability to make long-distance shots — he finished with four three-pointers — allowed the Rebels to do other things on offense.
"It was nice for him to have the confidence just by the way he started the game," Ohara said. "He helps stretch the defenses out and makes things easy for Kenyatta.
"He can shoot the ball well from the perimeter. We want to get tested by playing good teams so that we give ourselves an opportunity to get to play against different styles."
The Rebels will play some tough competition throughout most of December. They play at Montclair Prep in a nonleague game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday before participating in the eight-team Falcon Classic at Crescenta Valley High from Monday through Dec. 10. Prep will take part in pool-play games against neighbor St. Francis, Simi Valley and Chatsworth.
Monrovia, which played without several players due to their concentration on the CIF football playoffs, received 12 points from senior guard Nick Long and 10 points from senior forward Jamale Bars.