The varsity boys’ basketball team is looking to expand upon the Tigers’ 2014-2015 Rio Hondo League title this upcoming season. The team’s league record of 8-2 and overall record of 17-8 last year was its best in over a decade, but expectations are higher than ever as head coach Dave Lutzeier is confident the team can go even farther this season.
“The young guys have gotten better every single day,” Lutzeier said. “They’ve shown a lot of mental toughness and hard work throughout the fall and we are going to be extremely competitive the whole season.”
Last year’s 8-2 league record earned the team its second championship title, shared with La Cañada. South Pasadena’s previous title in 2012 was also shared with the 7-3 Spartans.
Additionally, the Tigers hope to make their return to the CIF playoffs after a strong showing last year, beating Burroughs Ridgecrest High School in the first round but falling to Servite High School in a nailbiter the next round.
“We’re all working hard, getting better in the gym and doing our best we can to have a successful season,” junior Stone Franco said.
The Tigers lost six seniors to graduation. Without key players such as Joey Toyama and Christian Lee, the remaining players have been working hard to fill the gap and be just as effective on the court.
“We lost a big part of our team but we still stand strong,” senior Ray Arismendez said. “We’ve been coming out to practice to improve and be the best we can be.”
Aside from solely establishing a good record, Lutzeier hopes to instill a love for the game among his players.
“I want them to have as much fun as possible while respecting and challenging each other so they can grow a love for the game,” Lutzeier said.
South Pasadena’s starting five will comprise of seniors Arismendez and Alex Nakagawa, alongside juniors Franco, Lucas Fox, and Matthew Scholtz.