Flintridge Prep girls' basketball edges Mayfield

PASADENA — There are a number of Prep League opponents the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team wants to pay back.

Mayfield was first on its list on Thursday night.

A year after being swept by Mayfield in league play — two of their 10 losses — the Rebels got their revenge.

Flintridge Prep defeated host Mayfield, 51-50, in its league opener, taking the first step toward what it hopes is a successful league campaign.

The Rebels (8-2) will have a long break until they play another league game, against visiting South Pasadena on Jan. 7.

They'll get two weeks to relax. Sort of.

“We're still going to practice,” Flintridge Prep freshman Tala Ismail said. “We're still going to work hard.”

Ismail was not on the Rebels squad that went 2-10 in league last year. But she's talked to her teammates about their frustrations and their drive to succeed.

She's poised to be one of the leaders of a rebuilt Flintridge Prep team.

Ismail, a 5-foot-9 forward, led her team Thursday. She had a team-high 16 points to go with three assists and three steals.

“This was so important,” Ismail said. “It sets the whole rhythm for the season. One win keeps us going.”

One win means a boost in confidence, said Flintridge Prep junior guard Maya Okamoto, who had 13 points, nine on free throws.

“It boosts our morale,” she said.

The Rebels needed a miss from Mayfield as the buzzer sounded to secure the win.

Mayfield's Melissa Venegas' three-pointer hit the side of the rim as the buzzer sounded, allowing the Rebels to celebrate.

While the Rebels enjoyed the win, Mayfield Coach Kevin Yamamoto was too frustrated to talk after the game, deflecting questions to assistant Gabriel Aguirre.

“We wanted to get closer to the basket on the final play, however, that was the only thing that was open,” Aguirre said.

It wasn't the only shot the Cubs (4-5, 1-2 in league) missed.

Mayfield shot just 13 of 56 (23.2%) from the field, and just 21 of 33 (63.6%) from the free-throw line.

The Cubs had a seven-point lead when Megan Villar hit a three-pointer to start the second quarter.

That was the Cubs' only made field goal of the quarter.

Mayfield missed 19 consecutive shots, as its cold streak stretched into the third quarter.

By the third quarter, Flintridge Prep was in control of the game, picking up the intensity on defense and efficiency on offense.

“We rely on our defense and if you're not making baskets, it doesn't matter how good of defense you're playing,” Aguirre said. “A lot of that was not making easy layups.”

Erika Lin (14 points), Villar (13 points and six steals) and Venegas (nine points and eight rebounds) kept the Cubs close, but the Rebels had just enough depth.

Sophomore Lacy Coan had eight points and six rebounds and Gabby Zen had six points and six rebounds for the Rebels.

“The confidence has been building,” Flintridge Prep Coach Kevin Kiyomura said. “We got the first win. Hopefully we can build on that.”

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