The San Marino High School varsity boys’ basketball team fell to San Gabriel, 44-36, in the final game of the Pasadena Polytechnic Tournament last Saturday.
The Titans pressured the Matadors and limited them to only 25 points in the first half. However, San Marino struggled to find its rhythm offensively and trailed by 14 after two quarters of play.
San Marino made a few adjustments and scored 13 in the third but San Gabriel fired back and didn’t let its opponent chip away at the deficit.
“I thought we did a really nice job defensively in our scheme,” SMHS Mihail Papadopulos said in an email. “I thought it was the best that we covered this defensive scheme all season long. We saw San Gabriel play the night before and they can be a nightmare. Our defense, gave us an opportunity to check their bigs and I thought it put us in position to contain drives and get rebounds. To be honest, our boys did a heck of a job because San Gabriel is not an easy cover. Unfortunately, despite some good looks, we just couldn’t push the ball through the net as much as we would like today. The effort was really good though, and we are still proud of our boys. It’s another notch in our learning and collection of experiences that we hope will pay dividends long term.”
Michael Baldocchi led the Titans with 14 points, five rebounds and one block and Lemuel Li added seven points. Cristian Mata netted six points and grabbed four rebounds, Ethan Deng also scored six points to go with two rebounds and a steal, Chris Wicke finished with two points and five rebounds and Brian Zhang contributed a point and two rebounds.
The Titans (5-5 overall record) opened the competition with a 76-43 victory over Pasadena Marshall and then fell to host Poly, 60-51, in the second round before facing San Gabriel.
“This group will continue to get better,” Papadopulos said. “I know they will. They are gritty, tough and a close bunch. We just have to learn, but they are willing and we can work with that.”
San Marino traveled to Cerritos to take on Whitney in a nonleague game on Tuesday and will hit the road again on Monday, Dec. 17, to visit Bell Gardens for another nonleague contest at 6:30 p.m.