Sacred Heart tops Hoover in summer league game

SOUTH PASADENA — Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy basketball Coach Ty Buxman has been impressed with what he's seen from freshman point guard Casey Johnson thus far in summer league competition.

The first-year coach has taken over a program that made the playoffs last season with a core group of seniors. With Dana Budzyn the lone returning starter, Buxford has been giving newcomers, including Johnson, quality minutes to give her some much-needed experience.

Against Hoover on Monday, Johnson responded with a team-high 12 points to lead the Tologs to a 37-23 win over the Tornadoes at South Pasadena High.

"They're trying to figure out what high school basketball, what varsity basketball is all about," said Buxman, who served as former Coach Gino Pacella's assistant the last four seasons. "I like what I'm seeing, though. I like our intensity."

On the other side of the court, Hoover Coach Stan Watson watched from the stands, giving freshman/sophomore Coach Lauraine Barakat a chance to hone her skills.

Watson, who is going into his third year at the helm, received nine points and seven rebounds from returning varsity center Melissa Manouki.

Nairi Sevajian and Preny Sarkisian, also returning varsity players, combined for six points.

"We're getting a feel of who we have, and giving everyone a chance," Watson said. "Obviously, we have no feel of the roster."

Manouki grabbed four of the seven rebounds on the offensive end and scored five points in the second half — three of which came as the Tornadoes went on a 9-4 run to cut the Tologs' lead down to 21-19 early in the second 20-minute frame.

The momentum wouldn't be sustained; however, as Flintridge Sacred Heart scored 10 of the game's next 12 points to take its first double-digit lead of the contest. From that point, the Tologs never trailed and didn't relinquish the lead after Juliet Hook gave them an early 4-2 advantage.

Both teams got better shots as the game settled down, but neither coach is expecting the players to run too many offensive sets with so few practices in the wake of hectic summer schedules.

"We flowed a little better as the game got going, but we're still not running our sets," Watson said. "I had us committing 18 turnovers, which is way too many and we shot 31% from the field. You're not going to beat anyone shooting that number."

Buxford said there's still room for the Tologs to improve.

"We showed some good foot speed and help side defense today," Buxford said. "Summer league is always weird because you have girls who can't make it to every game due to work or other things."

The Tologs and Tornadoes will continue summer league play at South Pasadena on Wednesday. Hoover will meet Pacific League foe Arcadia at 4 p.m., followed by Flintridge Sacred Heart and Ramona Convent at 5.

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