by Mitch Lehman
San Marino High School senior Kevin Wang is a young man of his word.
Two weeks ago, after his Titan varsity basketball team had dropped yet another decision to Rio Hondo League power La Cañada, the senior guard approached this reporter in the cold, damp, dark parking lot behind SMHS and promised a victory over the Spartans when the two squads met for a second time.
Wang is a soothsayer and the Titans are right back in the playoff hunt after San Marino’s impressive 67-51 victory over the Spartans on Tuesday night.
The last four minutes felt like four hours, but when the stark buzzer finally pierced the dank air inside La Canada’s oft-ballyhooed ‘Sports Palace,’ it was sweet music to the ears of San Marino High School head varsity basketball Coach Mihail Papadopulos, whose Titans finally tasted hoop victory over the Spartans after years, nay, more than a decade of futility. Though official records are difficult to cobble together, it is believed Tuesday’s decision represents San Marino’s first victory over La Cañada since 2000, breaking what is believed to be a 25-game Spartan wining streak.
The victory also ends a two-game skid of late and returns the Titans to the Rio Hondo League playoff hunt.
Wang was more than just a prognosticator. He added ten points and hurtled himself from sideline-to-sideline in a defensive effort for the ages. Senior co-captain Jasper Huang torched the Spartans twenty-two points, several of which came on breakaway layups that had la Cañada grasping at air.
Sophomore Brian Low continued what has been for him a remarkable maturation process, adding sixteen points and pressuring the Spartan defense with his penetrating attack.
“Tonight was for all of our former San Marino players who worked hard and wanted this victory just as bad as we did,” said head Coach Mihail Papadopulos. “Our team did it tonight and we are all very proud to be part of the Titan family.”
The Titans also secured their second consecutive (at least) third place finish and automatic playoff berth.
“Incredible,” said Papadopulos as his Titans celebrated in an adjoining locker room. “We had hit a lull the last two games and the guys just came together and got it done.”
San Marino hosts Monrovia this evening at 7:00 p.m.
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