SOUTH PASADENA — The huge lead the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy basketball team built over the first 15 minutes of Wednesday afternoon's South Pasadena High Summer League against Flintridge Prep proved to be quite handy in holding off the Rebels over the final 15.
Although Prep snapped out of its funk late in the first half and made a game of things over the first part of the second half, the Tologs were able to maintain a double-digit advantage all the way to a 55-32 victory.
"These are all players with two and three years of varsity experience now, with a lot of playoff games under their belt," said Tologs Coach Gino Pacella, whose team was led by 19 points from forward Ivy Fitzgerald, and 10 points and eight rebounds from center Lana Haddad, both seniors-to-be. "We're really pushing the tempo at practice and conditioning and we expect a lot out of this team this year and they know that.
"They should be playing games like this."
Through a combination of its own 46% shooting in the first half and 14 first-half turnovers committed by the Rebels, Sacred Heart looked ready to run away with the game early.
After Gabby Zen scored the Rebels' first basket of the game to pull within 6-2 at the 15:30 mark of the first half, the Tologs reeled off an impressive 19-0 run, largely fueled by 14 first-half points from Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald started the run by hitting a turnaround jumper assisted by Nora Welsh, who led the Tologs with five dimes. Later, Fitzgerald converted on a second-chance opportunity from an Amanda Aguilar feed and Mary Peck, who finished with nine points, made back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 19-2 at the 6:30 mark.
"I thought Ivy, Mary Peck and Maddie Romero did really well tonight," Pacella said. "They're playing really well as a team right now."
It would get as lopsided as 25-2 by the 3:30 mark on a shot by Fitzgerald, but Prep finally began a run of its own with just over 3:00 to play in the half.
Katherine Bogaard, who finished with 12 points, sank two three-pointers in a row to make it 27-8 with 2:40 left and Mya Okamoto (13 points) hit a three-ball with a 1:30 to go to make it 30-11 at halftime.
"We stopped doing what we do, they threw the ball all over the place [early in the first half]," Rebels Coach Todd Frost said. "Once they stopped doing that, it's amazing how much better we were doing."
Prep came out with its own 10-2 run to begin the second half and got the deficit down to 10, at 36-26, at the 14:00 mark on a three from the wing from Bogaard.
"In the [early part of the second half], we broke down and we weren't getting the help-side defense and they got open threes," Pacella said. "We're going to have to be able to do that to be competitive and go far into the playoffs next year."
The Rebels didn't commit a second-half turnover until the 11:07 mark, by which point they were still within a dozen of the Tologs. But the Rebels would fall back into the turnover trap, committing six down the stretch, as Sacred Heart began to pull away again.
Peck grabbed a steal and fed it to Romero (eight points) for a fast-break layup to make it 44-26 with 10:00 to play and the lead was back up to 20 for good moments later on a Haddad layup.