The San Marino High School varsity boys’ basketball team recently concluded its greatest season since 1978 with an unprecedented postseason run that ended in the Division 4AA quarterfinals, a feat that didn’t go unnoticed by the CIF-Southern Section.
The All-CIF awards were announced on Monday and named senior Jadyn Torres to the Division 4AA first team after leading the Titans in scoring and rebounding.
“When you think of the amount of schools in our division,” said SMHS head coach Mihail Papadopulos, “and the good teams in the playoffs, it’s an incredible honor. He’s the first San Marino basketball player that we’ve had in an extremely long time to be on the first team.”
Torres was a catalyst for San Marino on both sides of the court, making clutch shots and key blocks that would inspire his teammates.
“It says a lot about Jadyn and his willingness to improve his game last year during the offseason,” Papadopulos said. “He was not just a first teamer because of his scoring. It was his rebounding, his defense, and his well-roundedness that made him stand out.”
After a 2015-16 season that began with much hope but ended with a 3-7 record in Rio Hondo League play and an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo, Torres decided to focus on basketball for his final season. It was the first step of maturation for the Titan.
“Jadyn has always been a great kid and a great young man,” Papadopulos said. “One of his biggest assets is his competitiveness, which also hurt him last year. He wanted to do well so bad, but he just wasn’t there yet in his game and understanding. This past season, he dedicated himself to develop that understanding, and those changes came in the offseason. His game came together along with competitiveness and transcended us to another level.”
Torres entered his senior season a new player, physically and mentally, with a desire to help his team. He embraced the role of captain, and it showed with every encouragement he gave to a teammate between plays and willing San Marino to big victories. One of the Titans biggest wins was their Rio Hondo League opener, defeating the Rams at Temple City for the first time since 2012. Torres hit the game-winning shot in the 70-69 victory.
“I think that’s where it really showed this year,” Papadopulos said. “His leadership in the locker room at practice and in timeouts. That’s where our team felt it. He really embraced that role. He learned that sometimes less is more, and this year, maybe it was a little less in his scoring or attempts. But what he did was created for other guys, and gained possessions with rebounding and inspired guys with confidence. It was fun to be in the most intense situations with that kid because he’s such a competitor. Maybe he was feeling anxiety or nervousness, but I never felt it from him.”
Torres helped deliver the season Papadopulos has been waiting for, and his contributions to the season set a new standard for San Marino basketball.
“He’s meant so much to San Marino,” Papadopulos said. “Part of our message to San Marino is we could develop a basketball program with kids from our own community and play at a high level and compete for the top spots in league and compete for CIF. Jadyn and his teammates helped us really show what we’re capable of doing, and he gave us that important step forward for all of our boys going forward that anything is possible. I’m always going to love Jadyn because he helped push that along with his teammates and show we can do it. Expectations are higher for the next group coming in. It’s not easy to do what we did, but if you want to work as hard as [Jadyn] and his teammates who believed in him, then we’ll have an opportunity.”