Written by Matt Wakumoto
Assoc. Sports Editor
Photos by Tucker Judkins
Online Managing Editor
Boys’ basketball ended their preseason with a frustrating 58-36 loss to the San Gabriel Matadors on Monday, January 9. The loss solidifies South Pas’ record at 6-9 heading into league play.
Things began to look up for South Pasadena early in the game, after junior Jaylen Park drilled a three over the head of a blitzing Matador. However, the ugly, borderline-violent affair that ensued after can only be described as disappointing for South Pasadena fans and players.
Tempers flared throughout the game, as the Matadors dominated South Pas with a powerful fast break, and seemingly impenetrable defense. San Gabriel demoralized the Tigers, capitalizing on nearly every South Pasadena turnover and showing no mercy from the three point line. They marginalized South Pas’ starting five, who were quickly benched following the frustrating first half. By the time that the buzzer rang at the end of the second quarter, South Pas had been mentally tamed, and physically defeated.
After a seven minute halftime, South Pas returned from the locker room to face a daunting 16 point deficit. Despite the embarrassing first half, the Tigers returned with a renewed sense of urgency in the third quarter. The team improved their defense with fiery press coverage and an excess of strength in the paint. They were able to temporarily subdue the Matadors, while rallying behind big performances from senior Matt Scholtz, and junior Benjamin Kent.
Although the team had found brief success in the third, no amount of passion could compensate for the ugly blowout that was the first half. San Gabriel smothered all remaining South Pas hope with a landslide of fastbreak points and big turnovers. The rest of the game was a contentious mess, yielding a handful of technicals and a jumble of sweaty scuffles between opposing players. Sophomore Louis Jamerson provided a silver lining with four points in the last few minutes of the game after being roughed up by a San Gabriel player. When the dust settled on South Pasadena, the team was left with a disappointing loss and serious confidence issues ahead of their league opener.
The Tigers will travel to Monrovia in order to open league play against the Wildcats on Wednesday, January 11.