PASADENA — Having to lead the way back from a 17-point deficit against a rival in the fourth quarter might normally seem like a tall order. Not so for Robert Cartwright, who has made a habit out of helping the Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball team rally for improbable victories throughout the month.
The Stanford University-bound Cartwright found himself facing what seemed like an arduous task again Tuesday night against rival Pasadena Poly. The senior guard wasn’t afraid to author yet another magnificent performance in the final quarter.
Cartwright scored 16 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning basket on a driving layup with 3.6 seconds remaining, to spark visiting Flintridge Prep to a 55-53 Prep League victory.
“I told our team going into the fourth quarter that we weren’t going to lose and we could mount another big comeback,” said Cartwright, who scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter to help the Rebels overcome a 10-point deficit to earn a 41-39 home victory against Pasadena Poly on Jan. 10. “We’ve done it before and we felt confident we could get it done again.
“On the winning shot, I definitely wanted to be able to take it. There was a little seam in the lane and I was able to drive to the basket. We worked hard for this win and to do it twice against Poly is incredible.”
Flintridge Prep overcame a 48-31 deficit in the last quarter to improve to 8-11, 4-0 in league. Pasadena Poly, ranked sixth in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V-AA poll, fell to 13-7, 2-2.
Cartwright gave Flintridge Prep, which won the league championship last season, a 52-51 lead with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter. Pasadena Poly’s Will Genske (22 points and 13 rebounds) gave the Panthers a 53-52 advantage 20 seconds later.
Cartwright then made one of two free throws with 1:07 remaining to knot it at 53. The Rebels made a couple of defensive stops, paving the way for Cartwright to provide additional late-game heroics.
“This game was like a sequel, except this one was a lot more dramatic,” Flintridge Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said. “With Robert, you know he’s somebody who is poised and wants the ball.
“The guys believed they could get it done again. Robert carried them on his shoulder with some big shots and our defense stepped it up when we needed them to.”
Pasadena Poly held a 30-24 halftime lead and stretched the advantage to 37-24 on a layup by Genske with 6:04 left in the third quarter. Genske then made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 46-26 with 2:01 left in the third quarter. The Panthers limited the Rebels to seven third-quarter points.
“Poly outplayed us throughout the first three quarters,” said Cartwright, a former All-Area and All-CIF selection who contributed four steals. “We figured that maybe we could get one last crack at them.”
Flintridge Prep received six points and six rebounds from Dante Fregoso and 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks from Andrew Tsangeos. The duo constantly stymied the Panthers, who collected just five fourth-quarter points.
Cartwright finished with five three-pointers. He also scored seven of the Rebels’ nine first-quarter points.