First published in the Jan. 27 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The San Marino High School boys’ varsity basketball team rebounded from a 63-49 loss to rival South Pasadena last Wednesday to defeat Monrovia, 71-64, two days later and run its record to 15-2 overall and 2-1 in the Rio Hondo League.
After falling behind early at Monrovia, San Marino’s defense began to take control in the second quarter, holding the Wildcats to 14 points in the eight-minute stanza to grab a 34-22 lead at halftime.
The Titans continued to apply pressure in the second half against the hosts. San Marino senior forward Michael Azinge asserted himself at both ends of the court, recording another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Xavier Duong had an assertive effort with 13 points and three steals and sophomore guard Bobby Reyes finished with 12 points and five assists.
“I am so proud of how our boys bounced back on Friday,” said head coach Mihail Papadopulos. “Monrovia was competitively very tough and we were looking to see how our boys would respond. I was very pleased to see that we did not relent and just kept on fighting throughout the game. We know that, in many ways, we are still young in our development and it was nice to see certain players like Xavier and Bobby have nice games. As we told our team at the end of the game, it will be whatever it takes to land the plane as a group. I was happy that our boys showed great toughness and willed this game into our gritty win column.”
Mason Lo added nine points and Adrian Huang chipped in with seven points and four rebounds. Aidan Hoang and Truman Koch (six points apiece) and Jayden Tse (four points) rounded out the scoring for San Marino.
The Titans, who are ranked No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 4AA behind Lakewood Artesia, host defending Rio Hondo League champion La Cañada tomorrow night at 7 p.m. The Spartans are ranked No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 3A behind Dana Hills High of Dana Point.