Saturday, March 2, 2024

South Pasadena girls basketball advances to quarterfinals with win over Flintridge Prep

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LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — The South Pasadena girls basketball team turned a one-point halftime deficit against Flintridge Prep into a double-digit lead in just eight minutes. But this wasn’t an offensive explosion, with the Tigers scoring just 13 third-quarter points.

It was defense that led the way. A third-quarter shutout, to be more specific.

Thanks to a swarming defensive effort and another big game from junior forward Kayla Boozer, the Tigers (26-4) took down the Wolves 48-33 in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs on Saturday.

It was just the second loss for the Wolves (25-2), who won the CIF-SS Divis 3AA championship last year.

For South Pasadena (26-4), it advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinals, where it will be on the road against Keppel, a 67-57 winner over Mira Costa.

Boozer led all scorers with 22 points, adding 18 rebounds and two blocks to a filled-up stat sheet. Her layup with 5:11 in the third quarter gave the Tigers their first lead at 24-23, and she credited her team’s defense for the second-half turnaround.

“We were really close in the beginning, and (Prep) kept on making those shots,” said Boozer. “So once we took that away it was a complete game changer.”

Those shots came from Prep sophomore Maddie Smith, who paced the Wolves’ offense early on.

Smith finished the first quarter with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, all shots from behind the three-point line. She contributed all around, assisting on baskets and playing swarming perimeter defense.

And then the defense came for her. The Tigers limited Smith to zero points and just one shot in the second quarter, and then one-upped that effort in the third by allowing zero third-quarter points in total.

“Our game plan in the third was just to come out and be disciplined,” South Pasadena coach Cody Masden said. “Gecause they were just lighting it up in the first and second quarter.”

“Great teams have great third quarters, and obviously we didn’t,” said Wolves’ co-head coach Kevin Kiyomura.

Smith turned it on in the fourth and led all scorers with 10 points in the final period, scoring 19 total, but it wasn’t enough to erase the big Tigers lead.

South Pasadena senior Dylan Tse put up 13 points, adding three assists and three steals in an all-around performance

“We were moving the ball well, we were sharing,” said Tse. “We were confident coming into this game, and we had a lot of energy.”

Boozer said the celebration for the win against Prep will be short.

“We’re looking forward to playing even harder and learning the things we didn’t do well in this game and taking it to the next game,” she said.

Masden kept it even simpler: “We’re just going to make sure we come in with the exact same game plan we came in with today.”

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