Flintridge Prep girls' basketball gets lopsided victory

BURBANK — Tala Ismail finished with a game-high 22 points and seven steals to lead the Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball team to an easy 63-19 victory against Canoga Park in a pool-play contest of the 17th annual Pioneer Shootout at Providence High on Tuesday afternoon.

Flintridge Prep (4-0), which used turnovers and its transition game to lead to the lopsided win, will next partake in a semifinal game at 6:30 p.m. Friday against a team to be determined.

“It's definitely a good sign when you can get a turnover and then transition into offense,” said Ismail, a sophomore forward who collected 14 first-quarter points. “It's our first tournament and we have a mostly new team.

“Things are coming together pretty well for the team early on.”

The Rebels, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA semifinals and made an appearance in the CIF State Division V playoffs last season, raced out to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter. Ismail had 12 of the points in that stretch.

Canoga Park (1-6) ended Flintridge Prep's sizzling start with a three-pointer by Erica Ruiz with 3:40 left in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 19-3.

“We were able to get off to another fast start,” said Flintridge Prep co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura, whose team began the tournament Monday with a 57-22 pool-play win against Village Christian. “We wanted to be able to focus more on executing our offense better.

“We are still learning it and getting a better feel for things. We are also trying to get to double-digits in getting turnovers.”

Ismail, a reigning All-Prep League selection, made a layup to give Flintridge Prep a 14-0 advantage with 4:25 remaining in the first quarter. The Rebels held a 25-5 lead after the first quarter and grabbed a 38-8 halftime advantage. A steal and layup by Taylor Yoshida capped the first-half scoring with 10 seconds remaining.

“We forced quite a few turnovers in the first half,” said Kiyomura, whose team is averaging 60 points per game this season. “We try to play big in terms of keeping our hands out and then getting into the passing lanes.

“Tala bounced back nicely and it started with her stepping up defensively.”

Flintridge Prep received nine points from Natalie Rozman and eight apiece from Yoshida and Lacy Coan.

Ismail said the Rebels, who are yielding 18.8 points per contest, are still looking to jell.

“We had a great season last year,” said Ismail, who scored on a layup to extend the Rebels' lead to 44-8 with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter. “We are trying to pick it up and we like the team that we have here.”

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