The San Marino High School varsity boys’ basketball team got off to a stellar start in Rio Hondo League play with a dominant 56-40 victory over visiting rival South Pasadena last Saturday.
The Titans (11-7 overall record) managed to build a double-digit lead at the half because of its stingy defense. They pressured the Tigers’ shooters and limited them to only two 3-pointers in the first two quarters. South Pasadena (2-13 overall) improved on offense in the second half but was unable to muster a good run to get back in the game.
“We weren’t going to be swindled tonight by South Pasadena’s record,” SMHS head coach Mihail Papadopulos said in an email. “We knew they could shoot and at any moment go on a 3-point shooting barrage, but I thought our boys did a tremendous job not allowing that to happen. Anytime you hold a team to 12 points in a half, you’re doing some solid work as a group.”
Ethan Deng led San Marino with 16 points and three rebounds and Sean O’Brien chipped in 12 points and five assists. Michael Baldocchi netted six points and grabbed four rebounds, Cristian Mata finished with six points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals, Eric Fu had five points, seven rebounds and one block, Ethan Mo scored three points, and Lemuel Li, Chris Wicke and Neven Husson contributed two points each.
“With our young group, it’s all about learning experiences right now,” Papadopulos said. “Our boys are going through an active chapter of learning how to win and it’s fun seeing them figure it out. The chemistry on our team is really nice this year. It’s not only enjoyable on the court but it’s really enjoyable to watch them interact in the team room or at practice. That has everything to do with our growth as a team. We are proud of our boys and their collective efforts but after tonight, it’s onto Monrovia and preparing for the next challenge.”
The Titans took on Monrovia on Tuesday and will host Temple City in a league game this Friday, Jan. 11, at 5:15 p.m.