Photos by Richard Gomez
Boys’ basketball nearly avenged its midseason loss to La Cañada on Friday, February 2, losing 46-39 despite a fervent comeback. The Spartans’ size advantage coupled with competent shooting abilities proved to be a winning formula early on, but halftime adjustments and crowd support allowed the Tigers to climb their way back into the game. Unfortunately, La Cañada’s high-octane offense reigned supreme in the dying moments of its victory. As a result of the defeat, the Tigers’ league record drops to 3-5 and the chances of a CIF berth are greatly diminished.
The Spartans’ aggressive nature in the paint and significant height resulted in several scoring opportunities for each possession. Meanwhile, the Tigers consistently were one-and-done, forcing South Pas to maintain an impossibly high shooting percentage to keep pace with La Cañada. Therefore, the Spartans were able to leap out to an 11-3 lead. Incredible individual efforts by Tigers, including seniors Reno Goudeau and Jaylen Park, the latter of whom grabbed a rebound and sprinted the full length of the court to finish a layup, tempered the Spartan storm of three-pointers. However, La Cañada managed to extend their lead to 19-6 before the first quarter closed.
South Pas entered the second quarter with a renewed sense of urgency, outmuscling the Spartans on the boards and assertively attacking the basket. The Tigers’ suffocating defense trapped La Cañada and prevented open looks and uncontested drives. The Spartans’ troubles and Tigers’ feats were applauded by the fervent home audience, whose presence contributed to the tide of the game turning. Over six minutes passed before Spartans tallied a point, during which time the Tigers totaled nine, and brought the score to 19-15. Unfortunately, South Pas failed to fully capitalize on La Cañada’s persisting struggles, as the Spartans held a 24-15 lead heading into halftime.
Senior co-captain Nick Corvino opened the third period with a triple, before a controversial foul on the Tigers frustrated South Pas players, fans, and coaches alike. A response came in the form of a brilliant backdoor pass from senior point guard Danny Rios, who connected with Corvino for a layup. The intensity increased dramatically; chatter between the Spartan center and Goudeau resulted in an official timeout and a subsequent pair of fouls. South Pas fans continued to express their emotions regarding foul calls and impressive plays: an initial La Cañada backcourt violation elicited clapping, before a reverse of that call to a tipped ball evoked groans of frustration. Rios, also a co-captain, drained a three to provide South Pas with its first lead (28-26) of the game, further igniting the crowd. The Spartans retaliated with a deuce and a triple, however, regaining a 33-30 lead amidst additional cheering and yelling.
On an impressive play, sophomore Alan Quan restored South Pas’ advantage as he turned, gained separation, and nailed a three-pointer. Moments later, the Tigers’ exceptional team defense trapped a Spartan defender, forcing him to relinquish possession and causing the crowd to erupt. Unfortunately, following a few South Pas free throws, the game went into a downward spiral as La Cañada returned to their first quarter form. The Spartans knocked down a trio of threes, gaining a 41-38 lead with under two minutes remaining. South Pas failed to respond, as a lengthy possession forced the Tigers to foul for a chance of victory. The game finalized with a 47-39 score.
Boys’ basketball will next face off versus Temple City, on Tuesday, February 6, at 7:00pm at home.