Flintridge Prep girls' basketball rallies past Providence in Pioneer Shootout final

BURBANK — Scoring eight of the game’s final nine points, the Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball team not only cemented a wild comeback in Saturday evening’s 17th annual Providence High Pioneer Shootout, but also secured some championship hardware in defeating the host Pioneers, 55-48.

“This is a great win for us and a big confidence booster,” Flintridge Prep co-coach Kevin Kiyomura said. “We’re a team that graduated five seniors and are pretty young. This validates what type of team we are, what type of team we can be.”

Providence (3-2) led throughout a good portion of Saturday’s contest, but last held a 47-46 advantage at the three-minute mark.

After the Pioneers’ missed a three-point attempt on offense, the Rebels (6-0) surged downcourt and took the lead for good when freshman guard Taylor Yoshida knifed through the paint and assisted teammate Renae Tamura (13 points) on a backdoor layup with 3:18 left in the contest, which put the visitors up, 48-47.

The sequence followed a familiar pattern as the Rebels forced the Pioneers into perimeter shots behind a stout 3-2 zone and then countered by running downcourt for layups or free throws.

Flintridge Prep extended its lead to 52-47 with 1:43 left after consecutive layups from Tamura.

Finally, the Rebels iced the contest with 30.8 seconds remaining when tournament MVP Maya Okamoto fed teammate Lacy Coan (10 points and six rebounds) for a four-foot runner that put Flintridge Prep up, 54-47.

“For us, this win was about our defense and closing out on Providence’s shooters,” said Okamoto, who led all scorers with 19 points and four rebounds. “They could make shots and we had to get a hand in their face and forced more difficult shots.”

Providence led by three to begin the third quarter and maintained its lead throughout thanks to the sharp-shooting of Fabi Jimenez, who was named to the all-tournament team after hitting five of 13 three-pointers in leading her squad with 18 points.

“I just thought that the difference was Flintridge Prep was a little more composed than we were and they didn’t make quite as many mistakes,” said Providence Coach Andrew Bencze, whose team committed 16 turnovers. “Credit them for the win.”

By virtue of winning the second quarter, 15-9, Providence took a 28-25 advantage into halftime.

The Pioneers claimed the second quarter despite losing the turnover battle, 8-5, in a somewhat frantic eight-minute span.

Part of the team’s success came from a pair of timely three-pointers.

Flintridge Prep, which opened the second quarter leading, 16-13, saw the Pioneers tie the contest at 17 with 6:55 remaining after a pair of free throws from junior guard Katia Dabbaghian, who was named to the all-tournament team after tallying 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

While the Rebels countered with a pair of free throws from Okamoto, Providence surged to a 25-21 advantage with 4:41 remaining thanks to a 6-2 spurt spurred by consecutive triples from Jimenez.

Even though Providence’s lead never went higher than four in the quarter, the Rebels could never quite close the gap.

Even when a free throw from Cady Deck brought the Rebels within 26-25 with 11.6 seconds remaining, the Pioneers closed the quarter with a running layup from Dabbaghian.

The Rebels twice led by three points in the first quarter, the first after a 10-footer from Coan came with 4:15 left in the first and gave Flintridge Prep a 9-6 lead.

Okamoto then gave the Rebels a 16-13 advantage before the close of the first quarter on a slashing layup.

Flintridge Prep’s Tala Ismail was also named to the all-tournament team after finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

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