Ashley Chea out on a show in Saturday’s CIF-SS Div. 3AA semifinal, scoring a team-high 24 in Flintridge Prep’s 68-53 win at El Dorado.

PLACENTIA – The “Prep” in their school name was as apt as ever on Saturday, as the girls arrived more than ready in multiple facets.

The Wolves of Flintridge Prep made the trip to Orange County with droves of fans in tow, expertly executed their fast-paced game plan and pushed aside host El Dorado, 68-53, in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals.

Even the team’s post-game dinner spread was beautifully prepared in a lunch area outside the gym.

With the win, the Wolves will play for the 3AA title on Saturday night, when they face off against Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga.

Prep’s senior point guard Ashley Chea provided an offensive spectacle on Saturday, leading her team with 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Her slashing drives and hustle to loose balls led El Dorado head coach Matt Raya to call her the best opposing player his team has seen this season.

Akemi Fu finished with five points for Prep.

The finals appearance for Flintridge Prep will be their first since 2018, and the third for co-head coach Jayme Kiyomura-Chan, who said her girls were effective on both sides of the ball.

“We got to run our style of transition, but that doesn’t work if we don’t get the defensive stops,” she explained. “We were good in that part of the game as well.”

Kiyomura-Chan joined in the chorus of praises for the Princeton-bound Chea, who is effectively in only her second year of high school ball, losing one season to the pandemic and one to a season-ending knee injury.

“She’s the best player in our division – that’s it,” the coach said.

Maddie Smith had 22 for Prep, junior Kassidy Huie scored six and frosh center Akemi Fu added five.

Kaylee Shimoda dishes a no-look pass through the Flintridge defense.

Fu marveled at the huge group of supporters who made the long drive to see the game, giving her team a valuable boost.

“I think we all played better with the support,” she said. “As more shots went in, the more stops we got, the more the energy increased.”

Prep co-head coach Jayme Kiyomura-Chan reminds her players to keep their focus.

The Wolves effectively contained El Dorado’s star senior guard Kaylee Shimoda, who was held to three points.

“They were on their game tonight,” Shimoda said of Flintridge Prep, shifting her focus to the berth El Dorado will get into the upcoming CIF State tournament. “Our next steps are to keep working hard; I think we have a very good chance to go deep into State.”

Flintridge Prep’s title game against Los Osos is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at Colony High School in Ontario.

• • •

Elsewhere Saturday in the CIF playoffs:

Mark Keppel’s march to a Southern Section title was halted in its tracks, as Maile Naito and Brentwood cruised to a 52-33 victory in Alhambra.

Brentwood will play Leuzinger for the Div. 2A championship at noon Saturday at Mira Costa High School.

The Keppel girls, including Maile Tamaki, Jayde De Leon, Jasmine Yoshitake, Madison Kobayashi, Kylie Sakatani, Kylie Ng, and Kiele Ohashi, will have their sights on the State tournament, having qualified by way of their advancing to the Southern Section semifinals.

• • •

After a magical victory in the Div. 2AA quarterfinals, Redondo Union came up short against La Salle in the semis, 46-36.

The Sea Hawks, with Ashley Minei, Kyra Arakawa, and Coco Funakoshi, will turn their focus to State.

• • •

Mia Shimabukuro, Dy’lan Niimi and Notre Dame Academy will have a shot at the Div. 4A title on Saturday when they take on Oakwood at Mira Costa at 6 p.m.

The Regal Gryphons took care of Bishop Diego last weekend, 57-44, to advance.

• • •

In Div. 5AA, Gahr won a thriller at home, slipping past Marina, 39-38.

Lauryn Teramoto, Alyssa Miyake and company will take on St. Margaret’s for the division title at 6 p.m Saturday at Edison High School.

Amanda Marumoto and Marina will await their berth in CIF State.

• • •

In the Open Division, Hannah Vela and Mater Dei came up one win short of the finals, losing 71-58 to Etiwanda.

In Saturday’s 6 p.m. final at Honda Center, Etiwanda will have the daunting task of taking on Sierra Canyon, who are guided by head coach Alicia Komaki and went undefeated in tournament pool play.

• • •

In the CIF L.A. City Section, LACES punched its ticket to Saturday’s Div. 1 championship with a 63-45 victory over Cleveland.

The Unicorns, with Maya Sano, Kenna McConnachie, Kailyn Yoshimi, Haley Kaneshiro, Katie Chiba and Moka Tsukino, will play Poly of Sun Valley at noon at Pasadena City College.

Poly ousted Kayley Suen and Hamilton from the tournament, 56-47 last weekend.

Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo

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