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Tigers Stellar Shooting Seals First League Victory

By Nathan Cambridge
The Review

After navigating the nonleague schedule leading up to the start of Rio Hondo League play unblemished, the San Marino High boys’ basketball team was looking to carry on that success against rival South Pasadena on the road.
However, things went a different direction for the Titans.
Behind hot shooting throughout, the host Tigers put up an astonishing number of points, defeating San Marino 112-76 to deal the Titans their first loss of the season in the two team’s Rio Hondo League opener.
“Today we hit shots,” South Pasadena coach Ernest Baskerville said. “You never know what is going to happen in the next game. They could hit shots. It’s all about the basketball gods wanting it to go in.”
South Pasadena (7-1 overall), which never trailed, had six different players make a combined 16 3-pointers in the league opener.
All five starters for the Tigers reached double figures, led by senior Derek Peterson with 31 points, including six makes from beyond the arc. Tigers senior Russell Williams chipped in 21 points. South Pasadena junior Miles Nowe had 15 points, all by way of five 3-pointers. Tigers juniors Jack Madison and Oni Balogun each contributed 11 points apiece. The Tigers got 23 points off the bench.
“[South Pasadena] shot the ball really, really well tonight,” San Marino coach Mihail Papadopulos said. “We didn’t particularly play the best defense like we typically like to do, and they were very good on the offensive end, so just a bad combination.”
The Tigers won the opening tip and soon after, Peterson scored a 3-pointer as a sign of things to come. The senior would make four from long distance in the period and score 19 overall in the opening frame. After that, Titans senior Robert Reyes scored the first basket for the Titans before South Pasadena scored the next eight points. Peterson and Nowe scored back-to-back 3-pointers before the senior capped the scoring with a jump-shot for an 11-2 lead as the visitors called timeout at 3:31 into the contest.
After a long, 3-pointer from the top of the key by Peterson pushed the lead to double digits for the first time, San Marino went on a 6-0 run. Titans junior Casey Chan drove for a layup and a foul shot for a conventional 3-point play. San Marino senior Jayden Tse followed with a 3-pointer to cut the South Pasadena advantage to 16-12.
However, that would be as close as the Titans would get for the rest of the contest, as the Tigers answered with a 9-0 run that included five free throws by Peterson.
The final points of the first were courtesy a 3-pointer by Peterson to cap the quarter with the hosts up 30-16.
San Marino was paced in scoring by Reyes and Titans senior Adrian Huang with 19 points apiece. Chan had 18 points, and Tse contributed 11 points, including three 3-pointers. San Marino junior Mitch Mooney, who drew the start, had two points. The Titan scoring was rounded out by senior Jack Fuerst, who came off the bench for seven points in the Titans’ first loss of the campaign.
“It’s good for our team to realize we are not perfect,” said Papadopulos, whose team will host the Tigers Jan. 19. “You know, we had a nice start. We’ve got a lot to work on to get better. Fortunately, we get to see them again in our league and we have opportunities to get better.”
The Titans fought back in the second quarter, winning the frame 23-19, led by Reyes with eight points in the period. The visitors twice whittled the lead to single digits, including in the final minute after back-to-back layups by Chan and Huang. Peterson then made a jumper to make it 49-39 at half.
If it was still open, South Pasadena shut the door on San Marino in the third by adding 17 points to its advantage by the end of the quarter. Mooney opened the half with a basket inside to cut the lead to single digits for what turned out to be the final time. Williams and Nowe answered with 3-point makes. After a basket by Chan made it 58-44, South Pasadena ran off the next 14 points, including two more from long distance. The advantage peaked twice at 31 points before the Titans finished the frame on a 7-3 run to make it 84-57 going into the fourth. Williams had 14 points in the third, while Huang had 10.
South Pasadena broke the century mark just past the halfway point of the final frame when a 3-pointer by Sebastian Martinez made it 101-67. After that, the Tigers put in their reserves, who proceeded to keep scoring. The lead peaked to 112-72 on a layup by junior Kevin Hu approaching the final minute. Reyes and Fuerst then each made a bucket to set the final margin for the Titans, who fell to 13-1 overall following the opener on Dec. 13.
“I’m trying to think, that’s the most points I’ve scored in my coaching career, I’ve been a head coach for 20-something years,” Baskerville said. “It was great. It was good for the kids, good for the schools, it was great for the rivalry. They are going to want to get us back the next time we play them.”

The Tigers lost at La Cañada 65-56 in a Rio Hondo League game on Dec. 15.
Williams racked up 24 points, eight rebounds and two steals, while Peterson finished with 15 points, five assists, four rebounds, one block and one steal. Nowe tallied eight points, two steals, two rebounds and one assist, while Balogun contributed five points, four assists and two rebounds. Madison produced nine rebounds and two points, sophomore Kaden Anderson chipped in two points, two assists and one rebound, and Martinez had one rebound.
The Tigers (7-2 overall, 1-1 in league) will host their SoCal Christmas Classic, starting with a matchup against Jordan High of Long Beach on Dec. 26. SPHS will resume league play at Temple City on Jan. 10.
— Sebastian Moore contributed to this report.

First published in the December 22 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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