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Flintridge Prep, La Canada, St. Francis basketball look for more success this season

Basketball: Spartans look to reaffirm themselves as league's best, while Rebels, Knights look for additional playoff success.

November 20, 2013|By Andrew Shortall
(Tim Berger Staff…)

All three local boys' basketball teams will hope to build on last year when the 2013-14 season tips off. Two of the squads fell below expectations, while another matched a program-best playoff run and is hungry for more.

Flintridge Prep and La Cañada High both exited the playoffs earlier than hoped a season ago, with the Rebels falling just shy of their championship hopes in the semifinals and the Spartans dealt a first-round loss at home. St. Francis is coming off a quarterfinal run and has championship hopes this year.

Both La Cañada and St. Francis bring back just about everyone for the upcoming season, while Flintridge Prep graduated a slew of seniors but returns its Stanford-bound star in Robert Cartwright.

"Having experienced guards, senior starters and captains does a world of good for helping our guys who are new to these roles," Prep Coach Garrett Ohara said of Cartwright and fellow senior guard Kyle Hamane. "Those two will certainly make it easier."

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The Rebels are fresh off a pair of heartbreaking losses – a 60-58 defeat to Mission Prep in the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA semifinals and 60-51 loss to Village Christian in the first round of the CIF State Division V Southern Regional tournament. They will look for success with a much different plan of attack after graduating six key players and just about all their size.

"We're not very tall as we've been the last seven years," said Ohara, who's grown accustomed to winning the battle down low with players like Harvard's Kenyatta Smith and just-graduated Kareem Ismail. "I think the thing that this team does have is they're a little more mobile, agile and quick."

Ohara will still have a dominating presence in Cartwright, the reigning Prep League Player of the Year, All-CIF and All-Area first-team point guard that averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals a game last year. Along with Hamane, senior returners Stefan Smith and Scott Tsangeos will assume much bigger roles, along with sophomore returner Andrew Tsangeos and junior-varsity call-up Miles Johnson.

As it's been every year, Cartwright will be asked to do more this year for Prep after becoming the team's undisputed leader last year.

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