SOUTH PASADENA — With an absolute minimum of varsity experience on its roster, the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team may need the better part of the summer to get up to speed.
That's something second-year Rebels Coach Todd Frost has anticipated, and, accordingly, he took his team's 26 turnovers and 21% field-goal shooting in stride during its 30-22 loss to Prep League-rival Westridge on Tuesday in the South Pasadena Summer League.
"The goal in the summer is to try and get better," said Frost, whose only varsity returner, senior-to-be guard Kristin Shum, had a nice all-around game with nine points and game-highs of nine rebounds and six steals. "There's a lot of girls here who have never played varsity basketball. …You've got to expect those mistakes, those things are gonna happen. You can't get too flustered or frustrated by that at this point because they're learning, they're trying to get better."
Prep also got 10 points from incoming freshman point guard Mya Okamoto, who sank the Rebels' only two three-pointers on the afternoon.
"[Okamoto's] got a lot of experience playing club ball and middle school ball, so she's used to pressure defenses and pressure situations and doesn't let it phase her too much," Frost said. "Pretty much, at this point, [she and Shum are the foundation]. We're gonna be a very young team next year."
The Rebels led, 5-0, after the first 1:10 on a three-pointer by Okamoto and a layup by Shum and led, 7-4, four minutes later on a short jumper by Shum.
But once the Tigers surpassed them to go up, 9-7, with 5:30 left in the first half, the Rebels never regained the lead. Prep trailed, 18-12, at the conclusion of a first half in which they turned the ball over 16 times.
A three-pointer from Okamoto brought the Rebels to within 20-17 with nearly eight minutes elapsed in the second half, but Westridge responded with a 7-1 run to hold a commanding 27-18 lead going into the final two minutes.
"We're gonna have a lot of young kids that we will rely on [in the regular season] and they're gonna be put in pressure situations," said Frost, who coached last year's senior-heavy squad to an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA playoffs. "Now's a good time for me to take a look at them and see who can really handle the pressure and get them some experience.
"I want them to treat this like it's a game in the middle of the regular season and work just as hard as they will hopefully in December and January and February when everybody does take a look at scores and records and everything like that."