Sacred Heart stands tall

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' basketball team missed a plethora of shots in Thursday's opening-round game of the CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA playoffs.

"I missed [some] shots," Tolog guard Olivia Warner admitted. "But it was all right," she added with a smile.

It was "all right" because the Tologs knew they had a sizeable advantage in the post and a stifling defense.

Sacred Heart dominated the boards, collecting 32 offensive rebounds and forcing 25 turnovers to easily come away with a 57-32 victory against Alverno at Sacred Heart, though Alverno was technically the home team.

The eighth-seeded Tologs (16-11) will host ninth-seeded St. Monica or Workman in Saturday's second round.

They know their next contest could be tougher than Thursday's game, when they outrebounded Alverno, 54-20, including, 32-4, on the offensive end.

"When I missed, she got the rebound and got the and-one," said Warner, pointing to teammate Lana Haddad. "It's better because she got the three points."

Alverno (12-5) had no answer for Haddad. The junior center had a game-high 24 points to go with 14 rebounds, 12 of which were offensive ones.

"She had my back," Warner said.

Warner contributed to a balanced effort with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds. She also had five steals, as she was one of five Tologs with at least two steals. Dana Budzyn, who scored seven points, had eight steals, six rebounds and five assists, and Ivy Fitzgerald had seven points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Vanessa Romero also contributed 11 points, three of which came at the halftime buzzer when she stole the ball and launched a shot just inside the half-court line.

Sacred Heart started slow, but it quickly built a lead that it would not relinquish. Haddad (eight points) and Warner (four) contributed all of their team's points in a 12-0 run in the first quarter that gave the Tologs a six-point lead.

"We're so used to playing big and aggressive teams like Harvard-Westlake and Chaminade [in the Mission League], that this game was a little easier for us," Haddad said.

Sacred Heart Coach Gino Pacella was proud of his team for its rebounding performance, but was not happy with the missed shots.

"Fifty-four rebounds, we should've had 85 points," said Pacella, whose team was 23 of 70 (32.9%) from the field. "We need to be making two-foot lay-ups."

Added Alverno Coach Brent Fabbri: "We didn't box out. [Sacred Heart] missed a lot of shots, but they had two, three, and four opportunities each time."

Alverno, the Horizon League champion, was the home team, but had the game moved to Sacred Heart, as its home gym is not big enough to accommodate a playoff crowd.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World