Photos by Tucker Judkins
South Pasadena lost it’s first round of CIF playoffs against Gabrielino High School by a score of 62-50, away on Wednesday, February 17. The Tigers overall record stands at 11-17 for the 2015-2016 season.
South Pasadena was granted a spot in CIF after La Cañada High School moved to division 4AA along with Temple City moving to division 2A basketball. As a result, all five teams from Rio Hondo League moved on to the CIF playoffs.
The first points of the game came from junior Matt Scholtz after stealing the ball and finishing the play with two points for South Pas. The Tigers were able to set up Scholtz for a reverse layup the next possession for a four point lead. Gabrielino quickly made use of its height advantage over the Tigers to score four points in the key. Early turnovers also plagued South Pas on offense until senior Ray Arismendez mustered up two points and a free throw to complete the three-point play. The Eagles looked to its inside game to take the lead in the first quarter with a score of 11-7.
The Tigers experienced an offensive drought in the second quarter. Although South Pas was able to develop good ball movement against Gabrielino, the team was ice cold along the arc. Defensively, South Pas did not have an answer to Eagles player Grant Kirchhoff who was dominating the offensive boards. Arismendez and Scholtz contributed two points apiece but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Gabrielino’s pace that set the halftime score at 25-14 in the home team’s favor.
Senior Alex Nakagawa energized South Pas with five points in the opening minute of the half. A few possessions later, junior Stone Franco would take a hard charge to the floor and be sidelined for the remainder of the game. The Eagles once again looked to Kirchhoff for control over the offensive boards, maintaining their lead over South Pas. The Tigers answered back with Arismendez lighting up the scoreboard with two three pointers to put South Pas within two points. After getting a stop on defense, Scholtz scored quick four points to put the Tigers in the lead at 31-29. However, Gabrielino would gain the edge once again heading into the fourth quarter at 33-31.
The Eagles slowly gained the upper hand coming back into the fourth quarter. To stop the home team from taking further control, Arismendez completed a four-point play after sinking a three after a Gabrielino foul during the act of shooting. The Tiger sharpshooter returned to the free throw line once again to knock down three straight free throws. Kirchhoff fired back with numerous putbacks in the fourth quarter to increase the lead over South Pas. Points went back and forth between the two teams, but the Tigers slowly lost their momentum and could not complete any counterattack. Junior Lucas Fox sank South Pasadena’s last three of the season with 30 seconds left on the clock but the effort was not enough to overcome the late deficit with the time left in regulation. The Tigers lost its final game of the season with an ending score of 62-50