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Flintridge Prep girls' basketball stops Pasadena Poly's Prep League run

Basketball: Rebels end Panthers' 41-game league winning streak with 68-59 overtime win.

January 10, 2014|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Valley Sun
  • Flintridge Prep's Maya Okamoto is fouled by Pasadena Poly's Kiki Yang and crashed to the floor in a Prep League girls' basketball game at Flintridge Prep on Friday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Flintridge Prep's Maya Okamoto is fouled by Pasadena…

LA CAÑADA —To begin this new year’s Prep League campaign, the Flintridge Prep girls’ team drew a tall assignment hosting perennial powerhouse Pasadena Poly, which came in riding a 10-game win streak over the Rebels and a 41-game Prep league winning streak overall, meaning none of the players on the floor had been in high school the last time the Panthers dropped a league contest.

“When I looked at the schedule and saw Poly first, we were just like, ‘Well we’ve got to go through them at some point,’” second-year Rebels Coach Kevin Kiyomura said.

PHOTOS: Flintridge Prep vs. Pasadena Poly girls basketball

However, the Rebels were off to a hot start and the Panthers’ two league victories this season had both come in single and double overtime.

It was to be overtime again Friday evening, after Poly’s Kiki Yang drained a three-pointer in the final two seconds of regulation to send the game into an extra frame. Flintridge Prep then seized the opportunity to end the Panthers’ Prep League run and dominated the rest of the way to win 68-59 for its first victory over Poly since February of 2008.

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“I mean, six-time league champion, undefeated [the last three years], I mean elated,” Kiyomura said of his squad’s reaction about the win. “We had a game plan and we stuck to it. The girls fought for each other. That is what you want: team, team, team.”

Flintridge Prep (8-2, 1-0) saw Yang drain another three-pointer to open overtime, but her long-distance effort was immediately matched by Rebel senior Maya Okamoto.

“I think we just worked really hard and we calmed the nerves and played really loose in the beginning and at the end,” Okamoto said. “It was really good.”

The Rebels then outscored the visiting Panthers, 11-2, the rest of the way, led by the all-around play of Tala Ismail, who had seven points, two blocks and an assist in the extra period to lead the way.

“Between Tala and I we have talked about always being relentless and not being denied. ‘This is your time and you’ve got to go get it,’ and she did it,” Kiyomura said.

The sophomore finished with 16 points and was a catalyst on both sides of the floor throughout, despite playing most of the fourth quarter and overtime with four fouls.

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