First published in the Dec. 16 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The San Marino High School boys’ varsity basketball team improved its record to 10-1 with three wins at last week’s Pasadena Polytechnic Tournament, and collected a welcome accessory for their efforts: Respect.
The Titans are now ranked No. 2 in CIF Division 4AA and No. 7 in the San Gabriel Valley. Head Coach Mihail Papadopulos believes both ranks are a best for this stage of the year.
“That is a nice validation of our efforts, but there is a lot of work still in front of us,” said Papadopulos.
When last in action on Saturday evening, San Marino defeated Poly at the final game of the Panthers’ own tournament, 53-47. The win provided some validation following the Titans’ 59-51 victory over Poly in a non-tournament game on Dec. 3.
Senior Michael Azinge led the most recent effort with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Aidan Hoang added 11 points and three steals while Jayden Tse checked in with 11 points and five rebounds. Adrian Huang and Kyle Yu each added seven points for the Titans, who had opened up a 23-16 halftime lead.
“I am so proud of our guys,” Papadopulos said. “We knew that Poly was not going to just allow us to go into their house and simply win. They are a proud program that had success at the highest level, last year winning CIF and returning some of their key players. They just expect to win and we knew we were going to have to fight on the court and stay focused and disciplined. Our guys played gritty and were locked in all night. We have so many players that can contribute on any given night. When one of our guys is struggling, another one comes in and picks him up. It’s definitely a fun group to coach — very unselfish and focused on doing whatever it takes to succeed as a team.”
One of the teams entered in the Poly Tournament was unable to play a game due to COVID-19 protocols, but is expected to play the game at a later date.