First published in the Jan. 26 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The Polytechnic varsity boys’ basketball team entered the Prep League matchup against visiting Flintridge Prep with a one-game advantage over its rival since the 2015-16 season. But under first-year head coach Robert Cartwright, the Wolves broke a six-year losing streak on the Panthers’ home court by posting a 59-35 Prep League victory last Friday.
“We haven’t beaten Poly here for a while,” said Flintridge Prep junior Will Bigby, who finished with 11 points and a pair of rebounds. “It was personal so I just wanted to come in and show them we got it this time.”
Flintridge Prep senior Andrew Jordan, who had seven points and four boards, scored the opening field goal from behind the arch to give the Wolves a lead they maintain for the rest of the contest. The Wolves outscored the Panthers in three of the four quarters.
Flintridge Prep senior Caleb Bowne was great from three-point range, draining three of his four long-distance baskets to score nine of the Wolves’ 21 points in the fourth quarter. He also added a pair of field goals in the second quarter to finish with a team-high 14 points.
“Caleb struggled a little bit the last few games and we knew he was due to break out. We have a lot of faith in him as a shooter,” Cartwright said. “He had a great game and I am really happy for him.”
Flintridge Prep junior Henry Morrison controlled the glass by collecting a game-high 12 rebounds with eight points, six of which came from the charity stripe.
“I wish he had been a little more aggressive at times but he’s been a really solid player for us, game in and game out,” Cartwright said. “He’s going to continue to be a really important piece for us as we go through league and into the playoffs.”
The Wolves had nine players make at least one basket, which Cartwright has boasted as being one of the foundational strengths of his team. Senior Geoffrey Stetson registered six points and six boards while senior Marvin Furuta drained a pair of threes with one rebound. Senior Theo Kuo sank a 3-pointer, senior Chris Fung produced two points and three boards, and senior Jack Jones had two points and one rebound.
“The great thing about our team is we believe we can have a different leading scorer just about every single night. We don’t do it with one or two people,” Cartwright said.
Flintridge Prep junior Noah Willingham tallied a pair of boards while junior Steven Ng and freshman Owen Willingham each collected one rebound.
The Wolves’ defense keyed on Poly’s top scorer, senior Justin Odibo, and sent him to the free throw line on several occasions where he had 10 of his 17 game-high points. He also produced a team-best six boards as he battled Morrison for control of the glass.
“Justin is a very good player and they worked very hard to stop him; [Prep] had a very good game plan,” Poly head coach Brad Hall said. “But you have to realize that Justin is the division player of the year, he’s all-state, he’s a really good player and they’re going to focus on stopping him. Our other guys have to step up.”
Odibo did his best to keep the Panthers in the game as he scored all of Poly’s four points in the opening quarter. He drained his lone 3-pointer to cut Poly’s deficit to 34-19 in the third quarter.
Junior Justin Wang produced six points with four rebounds while sophomore Justice Icart drained back-to-back threes in the second quarter. Junior Bobby Hall, junior Cole Mallinger and sophomore Jackson Braithwaite each finished with two points and two boards, freshman Diego Scholze collected three rebounds and senior Nicolas Cardenas had one board.
“I thought we played hard on defense, they made their shots and we didn’t. They are a very good team and we will look to get better,” Brad Hall said. “Our job is to improve every day and we’ll improve off this game.”
League-leading Flintridge Prep (15-6 overall, 4-0 in league) will visit fourth-place Palos Verdes Chadwick on Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, third-place Poly will host View Park High of Los Angeles for a nonleague game Thursday at 7 p.m. The rematch between the Wolves and the Panthers will be at Flintridge Prep on Monday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m.
The Wolves lost to Brentwood School, 61-29, in a South Pasadena Martin Luther King Jr. Day Showdown game last week. Jones scored a team-high nine points while Ng and Bigby each recorded five points. Jordan had four points while Kuo and Owen Willingham each sank a 3-pointer.
Flintridge Prep previously edged last year’s undefeated league champion Providence High of Burbank, 50-49. Morrison registered 13 points, Bigby poured in 10 points and Kuo scored nine points. Furuta and Jones each finished with five points while Stetson and Jordan each tallied four points.
The Panthers lost at Providence High in Burbank, 69-55, in a league game last Tuesday.
Odibo racked up 20 points while Wang poured in 17 points. Cardenas scored six points, Bobby Hall tallied four points, Scholze and Braithwaite each finished with three points, and Mallinger had two points.
Poly defeated University High of Los Angeles, 54-43, in a Martin Luther King Day Jr. Showcase game at Price High last Monday as Odibo registered 19 points. Cardenas and Wang each scored eight points, Icart sank a pair of threes and Mallinger recorded six points. Bobby Hall produced five points while Scholze had two points.
The Panthers recently edged host Palos Verdes Chadwick in a league game, 60-58. Wang racked up 20 points while Odibo poured in 18 points. Cardenas posted eight points, Icart drained a pair of threes, Scholze scored four points, and Braithwaite and Mallinger each recorded two points.
Poly previously routed visiting Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia in a league matchup, 74-32. Sophomore Jack Lentz racked up 14 points, Wang poured in 12 points and Scholze registered 10 points. Cardenas and Odibo each finished with nine points, Braithwaite recorded eight points, Mallinger scored seven points and Icart tallied five points.