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Okamoto carries Rebels past Gaels

Basketball: Flintridge Prep girls close out tournament with 44-29 victory.

December 22, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

BURBANK — Maya Okamoto wanted to get all of her teammates involved shortly after they stepped on to the court Thursday morning.

The Flintridge Prep girls' basketball player didn't waste any time getting the job done, which led to the Rebels picking up their first victory in the 15th annual Pioneer Shootout at Providence High.

Okamoto finished with a game-high 18 points, four assists and seven steals to lead Flintridge Prep to a 44-29 victory against Holy Family in the tournament's 15th-place contest.

The Rebels (4-6) opened the tournament with losses against Immaculate Heart, Pilibos and Prep League-rival Mayfield before regrouping to best Holy Family (0-11). Okamoto, a sophomore guard and a reigning all-league first-team honoree, had 10 first-half points to give the Rebels a 26-12 halftime advantage.

"We wanted to come out and play with a lot more energy and we were able to do that," said Okamoto, who finished three points shy of matching her season-high set Dec. 6 against Ramona Convent. "People got open and made their shots.

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"We were able to pressure the ball and we got everybody involved."

Flintridge Prep also held Holy Family, which suffered tournament defeats against Louisville, Carpinteria and Canoga Park, scoreless for a stretch of 8:34 in the first half.

Elongated scoring droughts proved to be a common occurrence for the Gaels throughout the tournament.

"We get in an offensive rut and we just can't seem to do anything," said Holy Family Coach Ernest Siy, whose team played without starting senior guard Gaby Diaz because of a family emergency. "Blocking out also proved to be a problem and we gave them quite a few second- and third-chance opportunities.

"Maya is a real good player and she killed us. She seemed to have her way against us."

After the Gaels knotted the score at 10 on a layup by senior forward Jennifer Rodriguez with 58 seconds left in the first quarter, Flintridge Prep got three-pointers in the final 34 seconds from Okamoto and senior guard Kimberly Kim to take a 16-10 lead.

Those three-pointers helped begin a 16-0 run for Flintridge Prep before a basket by Rodriguez with 16 seconds left in the second quarter made it 26-12.

"That 16-0 run tells you what you needed to know," Flintridge Prep Coach Todd Frost said. "Everything else was pretty even.

"Maya came in looking for her teammates. She's a good player and we needed all five players on the floor and our bench to be able to contribute. They did that and were able to buy into the team concept."

The Gaels got no closer than 31-21 on a basket by senior guard Mary Alvarado with 4:23 left in the third quarter.

Neither Holy Family and Flintridge Prep will not compete again until January. The Gaels will take part in a nonleague road game against Mary Star of the Sea on Jan. 3. The Rebels will travel to La Salle for a nonleague contest Jan. 4.

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