Titans Reach Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1978

Well before the season began, San Marino High School varsity boys’ basketball coach Mihail Papadopulos knew he had strong group.
“We knew we had a close-knit group of boys and we knew we had a cluster of tough competitors,” Papadopulos said in an email. “It’s always interesting to see how a season can mature or destroy a team. For us this year, all the adversity and all the learning lessons just seemed to have strengthened our resolve.”
It also gave the Titans a grit that has been on full display in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs, and it propelled the squad to a 62-58 victory over visiting Barstow in a second-round game last Friday.
The San Marino boys’ basketball program advanced to its first CIF-SS quarterfinal since 1978. The Titans (15-13 overall record) traveled to Torrance to take on West High School on Tuesday.
“Our boys are loose and confident right now and just playing fearless,” said Papadapulos. “When you combine that with our athleticism, work ethic, understanding of whom we are and competitive nature, I think that makes us dangerous. All of our boys are contributing in so many ways and giving their all. We’re so proud to have broken the Elite 8, but I know our boys are hungry and focused for more.”
The Titans certainly showed that hunger in the second quarter, outscoring Barstow (17-12 overall), 15-9, to build a 32-28 advantage at the half.
The teams exchanged points through most of the second half, but San Marino’s defense managed to hold off any attempts of a late rally from the Aztecs.
“The Titans emphatically let everyone know that they were ready to attack,” said Papadopulos. “The game went back and forth with San Marino leading for most of it, but in the end, the Titans were able to maintain their discipline, knocked down some crucial shots and fearlessly made plays down the stretch to win the game.”
Senior Jadyn Torres stepped up for San Marino with 24 points and 16 rebounds, and Andrew Quach added 14 points and eight rebounds. Michael Shahan totaled nine points and five rebounds, Chuma Azinge finished with eight points and six rebounds, Joshua Chang netted three points, Zach Spaulding had two points to go with six rebounds, and Owen Koch contributed two points.
San Marino opened the CIF-SS Division 4AA playoffs defeating Covina, 70-48, last week. The Titans came out aggressive and jumped out to a 21-5 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish en route to the big win. The postseason victory was San Marino’s first since 2012.
“I was so proud of our effort on the defensive end,” Papadopulos said. “Owen loves the challenge of trying to contain the opposing teams’ best scorer, and he’s done such a great job using his length, athleticism and toughness all season long. Our guys are just understanding what we need and are simply doing their jobs.”
Shahan set the tone early, attacking the basket and breaking down the Colts’ defense. He led San Marino with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Quach added 15 points and five rebounds. Azinge finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, Koch netted 10 points, Torres had nine points and 10 rebounds, Eric Fu and Nate Wang scored two points each, and Johnny Dang and Cristian Mata contributed one point each.

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