By Gabriel Rizk, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:03 PM PST, December 5, 2012
BURBANK — After playing catch-up for much of the second half, the Flintridge Prep girls' basketball team very nearly ran down Immaculate Heart late in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's pool-play game of the Pioneer Shootout.
In the process of cutting the lead down to a one-possession game with seconds to play, the Rebels got a glimpse of their potential for this season, but ultimately lost the game, 52-49, to fall into a consolation playoff-bracket game today.
“They’re learning right now that you’ve got to bring that kind of energy from the very beginning,” Prep first-year co-Coach Kevin Kiyomura said. “I’m happy that we brought it at the end of the game, but it’s going to sting a little that we didn’t play like that from the beginning. We’ll take it as a learning experience and move on.”
There were some definite positives to take from the loss, such as another strong game from freshman guard Tala Ismail, who stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds, six steals and five blocks, and some grit in the paint from forwards Lacy Coan and Gabby Zen, who combined for 18 rebounds.
Ismail scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Rebels (2-2) back from a seven-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter that had grown to a game-high 12 a couple of minutes in.
With a drive to the rim that ended in a three-point continuation play, Ismail cut the lead back to single digits with 5:06 to play and then took a defensive rebound the length of the floor to bring the lead down to 41-24. Ismail then came up with a steal at midcourt and found Coan for a layup that made it 41-36 with just over four minutes left.
After a free throw by Maya Okamoto (13 points), Ismail cut the lead down to 43-39 when Katherine Bogaard found her wide open on the weak side for a layup.
“We’ve got to have her continue to grow, but we’re riding her as much as we can,” Kiyomura said. “We’re just going to have to continue to have her have good games and hopefully she’ll continue to keep improving every game.”
Immaculate Heart (1-2) would push the lead back to 47-39 on a bank shot by Rebecca Wilson with 2:34 left, but the Rebels would use defense to make one more run at the Pandas.
Coan stole an inbounds pass and converted a quick layup to make it 47-43 with 2:13 left. The Pandas went back up, 49-43, and even though the Rebels lost the ball on steals by Logan Bays (22 points) on the next two possessions, they didn’t give up any more points on either.
On the first breakaway Bays had, Ismail and Zen blocked consecutive attempts under the basket and, on the second, Ismail once again blocked Bays’ layup attempt and Bays missed both free throws when she was fouled trying to put her own rebound back up.
The stops paid off when Okamoto hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to bring Prep to within 51-49 with 6.5 seconds left.
But after an intentional foul and a made free throw by Paulina Glaviano on the first attempt, a miss on the second went right to Bays to effectively end the game.