The scoreboard inside San Marino High School’s Dingus Memorial Fieldhouse is capable of registering 100 points and higher. That is according to a few members of the Titan boys’ varsity basketball team, who claim to have witnessed the phenomenon.
It’s safe to say we will find out for certain in the next few weeks if San Marino’s first two contests hold any clue as the Titans have racked up 97 and 95 points in season-opening victories over Chino and Baldwin Park, who were able to counter with just 65 and 80, respectively. Heck, San Marino even rang up the ol’ Fair-Play for 94 last week in a scrimmage against Gabrielino.
The high point totals are lifted directly from the playbook of Titan head Coach Mihail Papadopulos, who has adopted a run-and-gun philosophy that encourages frequent substitution and free-range shooting.
So far, so good for the Titans, at least according to the 2-0 start and the point totals which are approaching the century mark. Students attending the win over Chino on Thursday, November 21 were on their feet until the final buzzer, hoping for a last-second three-pointer to reach triple digits with the same vigor Los Angeles Laker fans pull for their heroes to keep opponents under 100 in the Staples Center, which earns ticket-holders free tacos. A wise local marketer might consider adding incentive for the Titans to reach 100.
Ethan Deng broke loose for 35 points against Chino, with support from Joey Fuerst (21) and Sean O’Brien and Trond Grizzell, who chipped in with nine apiece. A 35-point second quarter helped the Titans overcome a groggy start.
“Our boys did such an amazing job this evening playing with such incredible grit and playing for each other,” Papadopulos said after the game. “Even though Chino did a great job in the first quarter taking the lead 21-18, we all just felt it would be a matter of time before our boys would get going and eventually wear them down. This group has a motor that is unusual and their ability to shoot the ball is definitely unique.”
The Titans also stepped up the defensive pace, recording 15 steals, most of which led to quick baskets.
“I am probably most proud of the level of effort that all of our boys played defensively which opened up these great scoring opportunities,” Papadopulos added. “We shared the load and the ball and everyone got a chance to eat, so to speak. Fun to see the boys so happy for each other.”
The coach called the Titans’ 95-80 win at Baldwin Park on Monday night “sloppy,” but an extended bus ride forced San Marino to hasten its pre-game preparation routine.
Senior point guard Sean O’Brien caught fire early as he not only helped to control the pace of the game but also burned the nets for 33 points. Again, the Titans had a multitude of contributors who impacted the game offensively and defensively.
Deng scored 22 points while pulling down five rebounds, Grizzell added 15 and seven, senior Brian Zhang contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Fuerst scored nine while grabbing six boards. Quintin Hollomand has gotten in on the fun with six and two points, respectively, in the opening games.
“I’m proud of our boys, Papadopulos said. “Of course we are super proud of players like Sean and Ethan, who had stellar nights, but we also commend guys like senior Brian Zhang, who just give you their soul every day, especially on the defensive side. Tonight he was rewarded with 14 points to go with his sweat. We did not have our cleanest technical game tonight but our boys were gritty and we’re proud of them.”
San Marino will open tournament play next week on December 5 against West Covina at the Webb School tourney.
The Titans’ next home game will be played on Monday, December 16 when Bell Gardens visits at 6:30 p.m. San Marino will again play in the Pasadena Poly Tournament from December 12-14.