Flintridge Prep made an unexpected and early exit in the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs.
The reigning Division 5AA champions had home-court advantage and the fifth seed in the first round of the playoffs.
But Santa Clara clamped down on Flintridge Prep defensively in the second half and pulled off a 55-48 upset on Wednesday night at Flintridge Prep.
Down two points at halftime, Santa Clara slowly built a five-point lead in the third quarter. Brandon Perez hit three 3-pointers and led his team to a slim lead entering the fourth quarter.
Santa Clara (8-19) extended its lead to 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Flintridge Prep players struggled to find their shooting touch.
The Rebels (17-8) were 6-for-28 from 3-point territory, a 21.4 percent clip, and had trouble finding any kind of offensive flow.
“We’ve been trying to change that all year,” Flintridge coach Garrett Ohara said about taking so many 3-point shots. “This was a tough lesson to learn.”
Perez finished with 14 points in the game for Santa Clara, but points were tough to score. Flintridge Prep outscored Santa Clara, 11-3, in the second quarter and led 20-18 at halftime.
Perez came out hot in the third quarter with nine points. Teammate Blair Orr scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half.
Meanwhile, Flintridge Prep couldn’t find the basket and fell behind.
“When shots don’t fall and we didn’t defend too smart in the second half, it’s hard to win a game whether you’re home or away,” Ohara said.
Flintridge Prep’s Robert Cartwright scored a game-high 23 points and made three 3-pointers. Chadd Cosse had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“They made great strides throughout the year,” Ohara said. “Inexperience inside, it’s hard in a single elimination tournament. It’s tough when you get Santa Clara as a draw.”
La Canada opens playoffs against Pacifica
La Canada, the third-seeded team in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA boys basketball playoffs, faces Pacifica from Garden Grove in the second round tonight at home.
La Canada had a bye in the first round of playoffs, but coach Tom Hofman said he would have liked to play a game rather than have so much time off. La Canada beat Monrovia in the Rio Hondo League finale on Feb. 9 and have had eight days off between games.
“I don’t like having that much time doing nothing,” Hofman said. “I’ve done byes before. I’d rather play a game. I would rather not have a bye.”
Pacifica beat Northwood from Irvine, 48-41, in the first round of the Division 3AA playoffs on Wednesday night.
La Canada (15-11) is the reigning Division 3AA champion, but Hofman said this year’s playoff bracket is a little bottom heavy. Calabasas, the top seed in the playoffs, is the best team in the division, Hofman said. The other seeded teams are fairly equal, he added.
“The best teams have to beat everybody,” Hofman said. “It’s not a tough division, but it’s an equitable division.”
Pacifica (12-15) is very similar to La Canada, Hofman said. Both teams are rebuilding and both have a collection of young players with plenty of potential.
“They shoot the ball pretty well,” Hofman said. “They’re a good, balanced team. They’re young like we are. Like us, they’re trying to re-establish their identity.”
In other playoff games in La Canada Flintridge:
St. Francis 66, Mountain View 33: Zack Gardea scored 21 points in his team’s first-round Division 3A playoff win over Mountain View. St. Francis is the 10th-seeded team in the Division 3A playoffs.
Emerson Castaneda hurt his knee in the game against Mountain View, the Los Angeles Times reported. His status for tonight’s second-round game against Covina is uncertain.
Renaissance Academy 83, Santa Monica Academy 15: Four players from Renaissance Academy scored in double figures in the first round of the Southern Section Division 6 playoffs.
Gerrick Uneau scored 15 points to lead Renaissance Academy (20-6), the top seeded team in the Division 6 playoffs.
Renaissance Academy held Santa Monica Academy to five points in the second half.
Renaissance Academy plays Bethel Christian in the second round tonight.
Girls basketball playoffs
St. Genevieve 50, Flintridge Prep 37: Maya Okamoto scored 15 points for Flintridge Prep (7-18) in a first-round loss to St. Genevieve in the Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs.
Boys soccer playoffs
St. Francis 4, Upland 3: Billy McCreary scored two goals for St. Francis in the first round of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Down 2-0 at halftime, St. Francis (8-8-8) scored three unanswered goals in the second half.
Brookes Treidler scored the game-winner in the 75th minute. Austin Frank also scored for St. Francis.
La Canada 3, H.H. Wilson 0: Arman Bagramyan and Jeff Becker each had a goal and an assist for La Canada in the first round of the Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
Graham LaBran-Boyd and Tyler Jones combined for the shutout in goal. Marc Kaesler also scored for La Canada (14-5-5).
The Spartans play Santiago from Garden Grove in the second round of playoffs on Tuesday.