Story by Sofia Alva
Photos by Jayden Eden
Boys basketball defeated San Marino in its fifth league game, 83-77, on Wednesday, Jan 22. This close victory brings the Tigers to a 15-6 record and 3-2 in the Rio Hondo League.
In the home rival game, South Pas displayed a high-octane offense with senior Billy Reed III pouring in 47 points on 16 of 22 shooting. In otherwise a back and forth match, the Tigers seized a lead in the third quarter and rode that momentum to a victory.
The Tigers began the first quarter with a disorganized defense, allowing San Marino to easily gain a 5-0 lead. But, the slow start did not fazed South Pas; the team responded strong, with seniors Alan Quan and Rodney Ortega both raining in threes to tie the game.
However, San Marino roared back with an 8-0 run as South Pas struggled to locate and disrupt the opposing shooters. Just when the Titans seemed ready to break the game open, Quan blocked a shot in the paint, igniting a defensive revival. The Tiger defense led to easy offensive looks and the team pulled within one point at the end of the first.
The pace of the game picked up in the second quarter, each side scoring and answering the other quickly. Reed consistently maintained good inside position and took advantage of his height to earn easy buckets.
The Titans slashers would not be denied, however, and San Marino made two uncontested layups in a row. South Pas continued to play well offensively and Quan sank a shot at the buzzer, bringing the first half score to 36-35, Tigers.
San Marino came out strong in the third quarter, executing its offense well and raising its lead to 41-36 in the beginning minutes. But, South Pas permanently turned the tide with an energetic 12-0 run. Reed, Quan, and Ortega — a trio of senior forwards — all attributed to the third quarter success, making several layups and snatching offensive boards.
Still, the Titans would not go away and chipped into the Tiger lead. As the quarter concluded, South Pas only held a 55-54 lead.
In the final eight minutes, Reed took full control; of the Tigers’ 28 fourth quarter points, Reed either scored or assisted on 22 of them.
South Pas started the fourth period with three straight triples to stay ahead by six. In the highlight play of the game, Reed swatted a San Marino three-point attempt and sprinted down the hardwood for a hanging two-handed slam.
The Tigers forced two key turnovers with under a minute remaining and sophomore Johnny Guy sank four free throws to ice the 83-77 victory.
The team will host Blair on Friday, Jan. 24. The Tigers previously defeated the Vikings, 74-68, in the season opener.