Flintridge Prep boys' basketball finding its stride

ARCADIA — Finally rounding into good health, the Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball team appeared downright deadly Thursday evening.

The Rebels coupled their second-highest scoring tally of the season with their second-best defensive effort in a 75-39 Prep League victory at Rio Hondo Prep.

“Everybody is dressing out healthy and it’s great to be healthy down the stretch,” Rebels Coach Garrett Ohara said. “We just have one more road game [league]-wise and a couple of home league games. If we can take care of the home games, we’ll take care of league.”

One such player starting to return to form is senior guard Robert Cartwright.

The Stanford-bound prospect only played sparingly in the second half and scored all his game-high 18 points in the first two quarters.

“We wanted to come out and put up a decent performance and play hard,” said Cartwright, who has battled through Achilles and ankle issues this season. “After an emotional win versus [Pasadena] Poly, I didn’t want this to be a trap game and it wasn’t. We came out, did what we needed to do and a lot of guys got to play, which was great.”

Cartwright scored 16 points in the fourth quarter versus Poly in an emotional 55-53 road victory Tuesday evening.

On Thursday, Cartwright spent the second half primarily as a cheerleader as he and his teammates iced the game relatively early.

Flintridge Prep (9-11, 5-0 in league) wasted little time in asserting its dominance, as the Rebels claimed nearly every significant statistical category in taking a commanding 49-17 lead at halftime.

In the first half, the Rebels forced 13 turnovers versus committing five, were six for 14 from behind the three-point line (43%) and had seven players score at least one point.

The host Kares, in comparison, shot 0 for three from the arc and received their offense from only four players.

All that totaled up to a giant advantage for Flintridge Prep, which ballooned a 4-2 lead in the opening minutes with a 19-2 run fueled by a pair of threes from Kyle Hamane and four points each from Andrew Tsangeos (11 points and two blocks) and Cartwright.

Hamane’s second triple came with 3:22 left in the quarter and gave the Rebels a 23-4 advantage, which ended up being their largest lead of the quarter, as Rio Hondo Prep eventually trailed, 27-12, at the end of the first.

“I think we were all just focused out there for once,” said Hamane, who totaled 15 points and two steals. “It felt like a team out there. Sometimes, it hasn’t been, but it felt good tonight.”

Flintridge Prep then virtually iced the game in the second quarter after the Kares (2-15, 0-6) kicked off the period with an inside bucket from Dave Guerrero created off an assist from Eric Mosher (team-high nine points).

The Rebels answered right back with a 20-1 run over the next 5:16 that began with a fall-away 17-footer from Cartwright.

Cartwright put on a show midway through the Rebels’ spurt with eight straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers that gave Flintridge Prep a 39-15 lead with 5:02 left in the half.

The Kares eventually responded with a basket from Guerrero at 1:19 before the Rebels’ Stefan Chraghchian sank two free throws before the half.

Flintridge Prep lost a relaxed third quarter, 14-13, before eventually taking their biggest lead of the game, 73-35, on an offensive putback from Stefan Smith with 4:10 remaining in the contest.

Overall, 10 of 11 Rebels scored at least two points, including sophomore forward Dante Fregoso, who totaled four points in his third game back after sitting out the season with hip issues.

“It was a good game to get everyone involved,” Ohara said. “We haven’t had too many of those games.”

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