Photos by Richard Gomez
Boys’ basketball suffered a crushing 77-63 loss to Monrovia on Friday, January 26, as South Pas failed to play to its full potential in the final three quarters. The Tigers immediately showcased their prowess, but squandered their freight train-like momentum with tentative play and missed offensive opportunities. Now sitting at fourth place in the Rio Hondo League standings, South Pas (2-4) must emerge victorious in their remaining, challenging league matchups against powerhouses La Canada, San Marino, and Blair, as well as Temple City to have a chance at CIF competition.
The Tigers were undoubtedly the superior team early on, pressuring the Wildcats into throwing wild passes or missing jumpers. Capitalizing on Monrovia’s inaccurate attempts, senior Nick Corvino lead the high-octane South Pas attack with a flurry of triples and deuces, bringing South Pas lead to 10-2 in just over a minute of play. The Tigers maintained their grip on the game for the remainder of the quarter, as Corvino totaled seventeen and senior Danny Rios demonstrated his remarkable, multifaceted talent through drives to the basket and accurate shots. While Monrovia was able to gain some momentum as the quarter progressed, the Tigers were simply on a roll, finishing the period with an incredible 61% field goal percentage and a dominant 26-12 lead.
From the first period onward, the entire game dynamic rotated 180 degrees. Turnovers and misaimed jumpers characterized the South Pas second-period performance. A series of soft fouls heavily affected the Tigers’ ability to play aggressively and overwhelm the Wildcats with a quick, swarming defense and fluid offense. Several South Pas players became rattled, but senior Jaylen Park utilized his unmatched quickness to deke Monrovia defenders and force fouls on drives or drill shots from around the arc. Unfortunately, Park’s efforts were insufficient in preventing the Wildcats from storming back, as Monrovia took charge late in the period and nearly eliminated the South Pas lead (38-35) before the close of the half.
The Wildcats picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, tying the game with a three before a myriad of lead changes. Monrovia resumed its brilliant execution on offense, a complete change from its tame first-period attack. South Pas was able to draw within six, before the Wildcats’ momentum was simply too great to stop. Monrovia consistently found the basket, whether it be on an all-out scramble turned transition attack, long-range jumpers, or drives to the hoop. Traveling calls on consecutive Tiger possessions allowed the Wildcats to extend their lead to nine, and a combination of timid South Pas play and controversial fouls only benefited the home squad as crucial seconds ticked off the clock. Finally, frustration manifested for the Tigers late in the game as evidenced by a number of fouls, before the final buzzer gave the crown to the Wildcats by the 77-63 score.
Boys’ basketball will walk onto their home court with their backs up against the wall on Wednesday, January 31, facing San Marino in a must-win matchup. The head-to-head record between the two archrivals is even at 1-1.