PASADENA — There's plenty of playing time up for grabs in any summer league basketball game, but even more so for the Flintridge Prep boys' team, which was without its starting point guard Tuesday.
While fresh faces like Kyle Hamane and Harrison Jung filled in nicely for Robert Cartwright, who is out with concussion-like symptoms suffered in a tournament game Sunday, the Rebels also got what they expected from returning big men Kareem Ismail and Chad Cosse in a 67-47 win over Marshall Fundamental at Maranatha High.
“We have nine returners this year so I think we're more ahead of the game than most summers,” Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said. “Summers are usually time for us to bring up new guys and get them in the system, but there's only three of them that are new this year. It's a big benefit for them to play alongside returners.”
Ismail logged a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Cosse added 14 points and eight boards, while neither played a minute in the final quarter.
“I am just looking to drive to the basket more this year, try to score more and get more rebounds,” Ismail said.
Ismail's biggest bucket of the night came on a jump shot out of the post that just beat the halftime buzzer to put Prep up, 36-24, and a smile on the face of the 6-foot-5 center. It helped halt an Eagles run, as Marshall cut a 12-point deficit down to six, 28-22, with 1:55 left in the half on a pair of Evan Bynum free throws.
Marshall was also short-handed Tuesday without returning starters Davin Hampton, John Sagherian and Gary Labachyan, but Bynum picked up the slack with a game-high 19 points and four rebounds.
“[Bynum] was all-league last year and he is doing really good,” said Marshall Coach John Burch, whose team has placed third in the San Fernando Cesar Chavez and Watts Summer Games tournaments already this summer. “Some colleges are looking at him and he's got a high 3.33 grade-point average so hopefully he can do something with it.”
The Eagles couldn't take hold of momentum in the third quarter either, as Hamane (13 points) drilled one of his three three-pointers two minutes into the quarter to extend the Rebels' lead to 43-27.
Bynum cut into Prep's lead again when he forced a steal and cashed in the layup to bring Marshall within 14, 57-43, but it would get no closer than that as the Rebels closed out the game on a 10-4 run with a mostly reserve lineup.
“We just need to work on playing together,” said Burch, who got 10 points and six rebounds from David Hardy and seven points each from Jerry Enciso and Kaylin Banks (five rebounds). “We have eight returners, but we also have six or seven guys coming up from [junior varsity]. We are missing those three starters so we played a lot of JV guys tonight, but that's what summer is all about — everybody getting time.”
Tyler Weakland grabbed 10 rebounds to go with six points for the Rebels, who also got nine points from Jung.
“We just have to work on our team chemistry and come together,” Ismail said. “We just need to get a few more practices in, learn all the plays and we'll be fine. We're only going to get better from here. We just have to work harder than the other teams.”
Ohara is already pleased with the team chemistry, but team bonding will continue to be a focus this summer. The Rebels are heading to Santa Barbara this weekend for a tournament, which also serves as a team-building exercise.
“Those nine [returners] are familiar with each other and are welcoming to the new guys coming in, that certainly helps,” Ohara said. “There's no egos in terms of who's taking the shots, they're all encouraging one another.”