By Jung Su Park
Photos by Matt Schotlz
The South Pasadena boys’ basketball team dropped its second game of the season on Wednesday, February 4, with a 58-41 loss in La Canada despite senior Joey Toyama’s team-high 20 points. The Tigers and Spartans both held a 5-1 record heading into its second matchup in the Rio Hondo League season. Its last meeting ended as South Pasadena’s nailbiter 62-58 victory at home on Friday, January 16. The Tigers now hold a 5-2 record.
South Pas and La Cañada both displayed strong defense to start the game and ended the low-scoring first quarter with a score of 12-9 in the Spartans’ favor. The Tigers could keep up with the home team’s offense throughout the opening quarter, but could not adjust to La Cañada’s defense in the second as South Pas underwent an offensive drought and converted only one three pointer and one layup for a mere five points to end the first half 23-14.
Facing the Spartans, who were playing with home court advantage in a crucial game, proved difficult for the Tigers in the second half as well. The only offensive hope seemed to lie in Toyama who scored all of the team’s eight points in the third to counter La Cañada’s 9 from 3 three pointers. Toyama’s star moment came when he hit a three, stole the ball from a Spartan player, hit another three, and then hit a third three very soon after. The pace of the game started to pick up in the fourth as the Tigers regathered themselves to regain its offensive firepower. All five starters got involved and scored at least a basket each to chip away the deficit to single digits. South Pas’ comeback late in the fourth was countered by La Cañada’s strong offensive execution of its own as the Tigers were outscored 24-26 in the fourth quarter to lose the game 58-41.
Although the Tigers lost the important matchup, they still have a shot at the league title if they are able to finish the remaining three games without a loss and if Spartans lose one of more games. The boy’s basketball team looks to start its push for the title with an away victory over Temple City on Friday.
J. Toyama: 20 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists
G. Luck: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
M. Luck: 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal
C. Lee: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals. 1 assist
Stats by Nicholas Baer