LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Even though it led comfortably throughout most of the game, the Flintridge Prep boys' basketball team didn't get its offense going strong until the fourth quarter of Friday night's Prep League rivalry showing with Pasadena Poly.
That's more than the Panthers could say, as a solid defensive effort was undermined by offensive frustration from start to finish in a 51-34 Rebels win in the first meeting between the two teams that shared the league crown last season.
"I was pleased with the way our defense was," said Rebels Coach Garrett Ohara, whose team, ranked sixth in CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA, improved to 11-6 and 4-0 in league. "We didn't score as well on the offensive end, but I credit our defense to just shutting them down pretty well."
Kory Hamane led Prep with 18 points and four assists and Robert Cartwright added 13 points, while Poly's offensive bright spot was 17 points and 10 rebounds from Will Genske. The Panthers (5-11, 1-3) had held Prep to just 30 points with a little under three minutes to go in the third, by which point they had battled back to within eight after trailing by as many as 12.
But after a timeout, Prep's Chadd Cosse muscled his way into the lane for a layup to bump the lead back up to 10 and spark an 8-2 run to end the period. Cosse (10 points) made all four of his shots in the third quarter, all coming on high-percentage looks around the basket.
"The whole second half we tried to get the ball inside a little bit and start inside out," Ohara said. "Chad helped us that way early and then that frees up the defense a little bit where those perimeter shots are less contested and easier to make."
Leading, 38-24, to begin the fourth, the Rebels finally began to score in bunches, starting with back-to-back three-pointers from Cartwright. Jedrick Eugenio hit a short jumper on the baseline to push the lead to 20 before Hamane carved his way into the lane for a layup to make it 48-26 with four minutes left in the game.
"We're always happy to beat Poly, we're always looking forward to this game," Cartwright said. "We stepped up to the challenge, played hard and got a nice victory."
Poly stayed within five points through the first quarter, but made just three of 17 shots from the field in the second period, while falling behind by 12. Logan Beerman beat the first-half buzzer with a three-pointer to cut the lead back to single digits at halftime, but the scoring drought continued for the Panthers in the third, where they hit on four of 15 from the field.
Poly Coach Brad Hall said the Panthers (13 turnovers) needed to get more out of their offensive possessions, but insisted on shouldering the blame for the loss.
"I just need to do a better job as a coach to get them going," Hall said. "It comes down to me. I've just got to find a way to do a better job as a coach. Our kids tried hard, they did what I asked them to do. [The Rebels] are just a little better than us right now."