LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — While both the La Salle High and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' basketball teams were halfway through tournament action of the La Canada New Year's Holiday Ball Classic, thoughts of upcoming league play were on the minds of each squad.
Both the Lancers and Tologs will jump into each other’s respective league play at the conclusion of the tournament and the year and both showed some positive signs and areas of concern Thursday afternoon in a pool play contest La Salle won, 56-36.
La Salle (8-3), which will face Pasadena Poly (10-3) at 2:30 p.m. Friday, led, 31-20, to begin the second half and increased its advantage thanks to its defense.
Freshman guard Kelly Fradet connected on the final bucket of the first half for the Tologs (8-5) with a 10-foot jumper with 29 seconds left that cemented the 11-point deficit.
From that bucket forward, Flintridge Sacred Heart was held scoreless until fellow freshman guard Casey Johnson sank a similar 10-footer with 2:23 remaining in the third.
The basket broke an 0-for-10 stretch for the Tologs, who had been outscored, 7-0, and trailed, 38-22, after the basket.
“We talked about getting better with our man-to-man and help-defense,” Cormier said. “We had a spurt there where everyone did their job and we opened up the game.”
While the Tologs scored the next bucket and free throw on a three-point play from Johnson, La Salle closed the quarter with a 7-3 run capped on an 18-foot jumper from Crystal Haynes (assisted by Celeste Brown) at the buzzer that gave the Lancers a 45-28 lead.
In the first quarter, even though La Salle’s shooting (five for 13) was better than that of Flintridge Sacred Heart (four for 16), the Tologs only trailed 13-12 because of their hustle and, in particular, their offensive rebounding.
Flintridge Sacred Heart picked up five offensive rebounds, which led to eight points.
However, Flintridge Sacred Heart’s 9-5 offensive rebounding edge in the first half dissipated over the finals 16 minutes as the Tologs only picked up two offensive rebounds.
“The first half was definitely our strongest half and our energy was a lot higher,” said Tologs first-year Coach Ty Buxman, whose team will face Village Christian (8-6) at 4 p.m. Friday. “But for the second game in a row, like we did last night against Hart, our effort and energy just weren’t the same in the second half.”
“This needs to change before Mission League play starts.”
La Salle created separation in the second quarter, winning the period, 18-8, thanks in part to eight of 10 points from junior forward Brianna Rodriguez.
“We didn’t play good defense first of all. We also weren’t shooting well and we were sloppy,” said Rodriguez, who added eight rebounds. “But we started to run and that helped get us going and we were able to run them out of the building.”
Forward Kandyce Smith led La Salle with 11 points, while guard Caroline Knop added 10 points and six rebounds and Sierra Bononi tallied seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Dana Budzyn led the Tologs with 11 points, while Fradet added seven points.