BURBANK — For the past four years, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy basketball team has enjoyed a renaissance by qualifying for the postseason.
Ty Buxman had a hand in that achievement by grooming multiple players at the junior varsity level as a coach and preparing them for the transition to the varsity stage. Buxman will now be in charge of the varsity team for the first time after he succeeded Gino Pacella, who resigned following last season.
"We built a program over the last four years and we are going to try to keep making progress," said Buxman, whose team suffered a pair of pool-play losses Friday, including a 59-17 defeat against Country Day La Jolla, at the Summer Slam Tournament at Burroughs High. "The players know me and I know them, so the learning curve will be short and we want to get to work right away."
Buxman, who served as Pacella's assistant the last four seasons and has taught physics at the school for 10 years, said the Tologs will have plenty of open spots on the roster following the graduation of starters Lana Haddad, Ivy Fitzgerald, Maddie Romero and Nora Welsh. Sacred Heart advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs last season before falling to fifth-seeded Muir, 65-30, in a first-round contest.
Sacred Heart never led against Country Day La Jolla, which won the CIF Division IV state championship last season in Sacramento. The Tologs, who opened the tournament earlier Friday with a 50-27 defeat against La Salle, received four points and four rebounds from point guard Dana Budzyn.
Budzyn, the lone returning starter and a reigning All-Mission League second-team honoree after averaging 6.7 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game last season, said having a quasi new coach on board might be a good fit.
"A lot of us have never played together," said Budzyn, who made a buzzer-beating shot as the first half expired to cut Country Day La Jolla's lead to 36-8. "We come in with something to work toward.
"[Buxman] focuses some more on fundamentals and he will be a good reinforcement for the team. He's relatable."
The Tologs missed their first four shots from the floor before Sarah Lund scored on a bank shot to cut Country Day La Jolla's lead to 14-2 with 14:52 remaining in the first half.
Buxman said the Tologs will spend the summer working on various drills to get each player up to speed before the season begins in November.
"We have some kids who are on the bubble," said Buxman, who got four points from Melissa Leavens. "We want everybody to be confident with all of the fundamentals.
"We want everybody to be used to the fundamentals by the start of next season."
Sacred Heart will next participate in another tournament game Sunday.