By Andrew Shults
Photos by Matt Scholtz
After a disappointing loss to San Marino on Wednesday, the boys’ basketball team was looking to get back on track in its quest to win the Rio Hondo League Title. The Tigers came out with more intensity and drive, defeating the Blair Vikings 57-48.
“The team played really well today and worked as a team” senior Brian Faung said. “We plan to continue working hard and executing well for the next game.”
South Pasadena scored the first points of the game, as senior Joey Toyama sunk in a two pointer and two free throws. Not to be outdone, Blair quickly answered back and scored four points of its own to tie the game up. The Tigers regained the lead as senior Christian Lee made a two point jump shot, to bring the score to 6-4. However, after several turnovers and missed shots, the Tigers fell behind 9-8. South Pasadena began to pick up momentum as Toyama scored a two point floater and junior Greg Luck sunk in a three, but the Vikings would not let up. By the end of the first quarter, both teams were tied 13-13.
South Pasadena started off the second quarter sluggish, falling behind 18-15. However, senior Kelvin Mirhan, along with Luck and Toyama all scored from behind the arc to give the Tigers a six point lead. Toyama scored five more points with junior Raymond Arismendez hitting a three to finish off the half, 32-21
The Tigers came out more aggressively In the second half but struggled to keep their foul count down, allowing Blair to go into bonus halfway through the third quarter. The Vikings capitalized on this, closing the gap between the them and the Tigers to seven points, before South Pasadena went into bonus themselves, allowing Luck to sink in two free throws. Blair scored four more points, but another free throw by Luck and a last minute tip in by junior Stone Franco allowed the Tigers to finish the quarter up by nine points.
South Pasadena continued to take advantage of the many free throws they received in the last quarter, adding nine additional points. Blair, despite staying just behind the Tigers the entire game, was not able to break South Pas’s lead as the Tigers finished the game up 57-48.
“Despite the early foul trouble and slow start we had in the first half, we managed to pick ourselves up and maintain the lead for the rest of the game,” Mirhan said. “I do think we need to work on being consistent throughout the entire game and valuing each individual possession,”
South Pasadena faces off against La Cañada for the second time on Wednesday, February 4. The Tigers narrowly defeated the Spartans 62-58 in their first meeting.