LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Much like the first few swings of a baseball bat after batting weights are shed in the on-deck circle, the Flintridge Prep boys' basketball team's blowout win in the opening round of the CIF Southern California Division V Championships on Tuesday against overmatched Tranquility seemed practically effortless following Saturday's slugfest with Muir for the Southern Section Division 5-AA championship.
Contrary to that game, one of the toughest of the year for Prep, in which it won by just three points, it only took two minutes and 15 seconds for the Rebels to set the tone for Tuesday's 98-32 landslide. But a runaway first quarter was only the beginning of a tireless show of blocked shots, steals, fast breaks and slam dunks that the Rebels provided for their home fans in a game that felt more like a first-round bye than a state tournament opener.
"It was an interesting change in tempo," Prep senior center Kenyatta Smith, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, said of transitioning from a brawl to a blowout in a matter of days. "Coming into this game, Coach [Garret Ohara] gave us a disclaimer, he said, 'Honestly, we've played some tough teams before and we've played some not-so-good teams, and this is a not-so-good team.'