By Jung Su Park
Photos by Matt Scholtz
The boys’ basketball team came up short in completing their five game win streak on Wednesday, January 28, dropping their home rivalry game against San Marino 37-53. This is the Tigers’ first loss of the season, and they remain first in the Rio Hondo standings, tied with La Canada.
The Tigers looked stagnant on both offensive and defensive ends from the beginning of the first quarter, despite the energetic support from the home crowd. Senior Christian Lee sank an impressive three pointer from way behind the arc in an attempt to spark up the Tiger offense at the start, but the Tigers could only muster up a mere seven points while allowing San Marino to knock down numerous three pointers for thirteen. This flow of the game continued into the second quarter as the Tigers struggled to consistently make baskets and the Titans pulled the offensive momentum on their side. South Pas faced a fourteen point deficit at the end of the first half, 14-28.
The home crowd began to chant and cheer extra hard from the start of the second half during the third quarter, hoping to moralize the home team into a comeback. The Tigers forced turnovers and converted them into free throw attempts for points. However, each Tiger point and basket was countered with a response from San Marino’s hot shooters. The Titans outscored the Tigers 18-10 in the third quarter to give South Pas a large 22 point gap heading into crunch time.
Star point guard Joey Toyama opened up the fourth quarter with a corner three and a fast break layup off a San Marino turnover to complete a five point play in under thirty seconds. Although signs of a possible South Pasadena run seeped up and excited the spectators, the Tigers could not make significant progress in chipping away at the deficit. The San Marino lead was too overwhelming to erase with only eight minutes until the end of regulation. Realizing this, Coach Lutzeier took out the starting five and subbed in the reserves with 3 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, much to the confusion and displeasure of the fans. San Marino’s bench players soon stepped into the court to finish off the game 37-53.
“Even though we had good looks at the basket, our shots were just not falling down throughout tonight’s game,” Lee said. “San Marino’s defensive game was solid and we couldn’t adjust to it.”
The Tigers look to bounce back from their first loss and improve to a 5-1 record with a win in their sixth game of the Rio Hondo League season which is against Blair High School at home on Friday, January 30th.