The Flintridge Prep High School girls’ basketball team advanced to the CIF Division V-AA finals on Feb. 26 with a 37-27 victory over Village Christian in the semifinals. The Rebels will play on Saturday at 2 p.m. vs. Mission College Prep at Godinez High School for the championship. The Rebels boys’ team is also in the Division V-AA finals, and it will take on St. Joseph at the same location on Saturday at 4 p.m., which immediately follows the girls’ game.
The Rebels (19-4) got off to a slow start against the Crusaders from Sun Valley. Village (22-8) had the upper hand early with good defense, though neither team could consistently find the bottom of the net. It was a 16-9 Village lead at halftime.
But Prep exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Crusaders 19-7 in the frame to take a 28-23 lead. Again, the Crusaders’ offense couldn’t gain traction, only scoring four points in the fourth quarter.
Prep’s Natalie Rozman and Taylor Yoshida led the way with nine points each. Village’s Leslie Aguilar had a game-high 10 points.
The Crusaders were again led this year by Head Coach Jon Sampang, who along with assistant coach Justin Tagawa played high school basketball for Crescenta Valley in the early-2000s. Key players for the team, which won the Olympic League for the first time in 16 years, included sophomore Micaela Cacho-Negrete, junior transfer center Mercy Odima and senior Avery O’Neal, who is the only senior on the roster.
The Rebels are led by Rozman, Yoshida and senior Tala Ismail, who had four points and five rebounds in the semifinals.