Prep pulls together for tourney win over San Marino

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Already missing three returning starters due to outside commitments, the Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball team became even thinner Friday when guard Kyle Hamane suffered what Rebels Coach Garrett Ohara termed a bad ankle sprain in the team’s opening game of the Flintridge Prep Basketball Tournament.

When Prep took the court later in the afternoon to face San Marino in tournament action, the Rebels would need some one to pick up the slack. They got just that, from several sources, in pulling away from the Titans in the second half to notch a 63-57 win.

“That’s what you like in the summer, there’s guys who have got to be in different roles,” said Ohara, who got 14 points and eight points from Tyler Weakland, 11 points and eight rebounds from Chadd Cosse and eight points apiece from four other players. “I’m looking at a guy like Tyler who’s just really stepped up in the absence of a lot of our scoring with other guys not here. He finished well at the basket.”

Weakland (nine second-half points) and others sparked the Rebels during a second-half run that saw the Rebels go from a one-point deficit to a double-digit advantage in a five-minute span.

Harrison Jung (eight points) converted a three-point play to put Prep up, 43-41, at the 10:50 mark before Weakland drove the baseline for a layup and a 47-41 lead. With 8:45 to play, Dante Fregoso (eight points) scored on a putback of a missed free throw to put the Rebels ahead, 50-41.

“We played them very close in the first half and then the defense picked up and led to some easier baskets for our guys,” Ohara said. “They got a little more confidence knowing they could do that.”

West Nowotny got in on the action with a drop-step move for a bucket on a Stefan Smith assist and Scott Tsangeos gave Prep its biggest lead of the game when he nailed a three-pointer with five minutes left to make it 60-43.

Jasper Hwang, who led all scorers with 21 points, ended the drought for San Marino with a layup and even though the Titans would get back within six, they never rediscovered the consistency they displayed earlier in the back-and-forth game.

The lead changed hands frequently over the first half and first several minutes of the second, as San Marino enjoyed an early 20-13 lead, but saw Prep take a 34-33 lead into the half on a layup by Cosse.

“We’re trying to do some things this year based on our personnel, so it’s all very new for our guys,” said San Marino Coach Mihail Papadoupolus, who got 13 points from Kevin Wang and 10 from Jamal Etyab. “We’re making summer mistakes out here. Our goal in summer time is to play hard. We’re going to make some mistakes. We’re not moving the ball very well mentally, we just kind of got stagnant. We rely on movement and aggressive play, but if we’re just coming down and taking quick shots, that makes it easier for other teams to defend us.”

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