With host Flintridge Sacred Heart hanging around at halftime, the Harvard-Westlake High School girls basketball team did what it always does — turned to guard Natalie Florescu.
And Florescu, as usual, didn’t disappoint.
The Wolverines rode Florescu early in the third quarter and turned a six-point lead at halftime into a double figure advantage that ultimately resulted in a 57-49 win on Thursday night.
“She’s our leading, our senior and she’s the one that gets us going,” Harvard-Westlake head coach Melissa Hearlihy said of Florescu. “It should be her. She’s our senior captain, that’s an expectation of her and she fulfilled that tonight as she has in all the big games, actually.”
Florescu scored a team-high 17 points as Harvard-Westlake improved to 9-9 overall and 2-0 in the Mission League. Flintridge Sacred Heart fell to 9-9 and is in a bit of trouble with an 0-2 start in league.
“You’re never happy with 0-2, but Alemany and Chaminade are up on top and the other four of us are really battling for that third-place spot,” Tologs head coach Ty Buxman said. “We’ve sort of dug ourselves a hole and we’ll do what we can to dig ourselves out.”
Even without its top player for most of the game, the Pasadena High School boys basketball still proved too much for visiting Burroughs on Wednesday night.
Brandon Jolley, the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-5 power forward, was ejected late in the second quarter after picking up two quick technical fouls for arguing with the referees over a non-foul call. Didn’t matter, however, as the Bulldogs turned a close game into 65-35 win to remain unbeaten in the Pacific League.<
"It's been a weird year," Pasadena head coach Tim Tucker said. "Weird things have been happening all year long, from being sick to injuries. I think Jolley, who is arguably one of the top players in the league, got frustrated with the fouls that weren't being called down there and just blew his top.
"It's unfortunate that it came to that, but I like the way my team hung together, pulled together, was able to extend the lead and win the game."
Pasadena (10-4, 3-0) watched as Burroughs closed to within 23-19 on the technical foul free throws after Jolley exited. But 3-pointers by Nick Brown and Andre Spight helped send the Bulldogs to halftime with a 29-23 lead.
Burroughs closed to within two points early in the third quarter. That's when the Bulldogs defense got downright stingy and it was only a matter of time before the offense caught up.
Jeffrey McClendon's 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs their first double figure lead of the game at 41-31 with just over a minute left in the third. McClendon closed the third with another basket to put Pasadena up 12 going to the fourth.