HomeBlocksFront-GridSan Marino Boys’ Basketball Sees Winningest Season Come to Abrupt End

San Marino Boys’ Basketball Sees Winningest Season Come to Abrupt End

The San Marino High boys’ basketball team knew when the postseason came to an end, it would mark the conclusion of a special season in the history of the program.

However, the Titans were primed to keep this campaign rolling as they hosted Alemany in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-A second playoffs.

Against the visiting Warriors, San Marino kept at it, but could not catch fire on offense in order to overcome Alemany. The Titans fell 66-49 on Feb. 9, bringing their season to a close.

“This is our best season in our school’s history,” said San Marino coach Mihail Papadopulos, whose squad set a new high mark in wins with 23. “We are super proud of all of our seniors. We knew when they came in as freshmen they were going to be very, very good, and they did not disappoint us. This was a fantastic season.”

San Marino concluded the season with an overall 23-7 record and ranked No. 7 in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A polls. The Titans finished fourth in the Rio Hondo League with a 5-5 mark.

The Titans were within seven points three times in the fourth quarter. The latest was near the midpoint of the period after Titan Nicholas Chen scored on the fast break off an assist by Bobby Reyes to make it 51-44. Titan Mitch Mooney followed that with a steal, but then the Titans missed the mark with a 3-pointer, leading to the Warriors getting a layup on the break.

San Marino misfired again from beyond the arc, and at the other end Alemany’s Bourgeois Tshilobo, conservatively listed at 6-foot-8, scored on a putback of his own miss.

The Titans then missed a shot in close, after which Tshilobo rebounded his own miss at the other end and dunked the ball. The hosts were unable to respond and missed another shot attempt, and Alemany scored at the other end again on a dunk by Tshilobo, who would finish with a game-high 18 points.

San Marino missed another 3-point attempt, after which the Warriors made two free throws. Chen scored on a long field-goal attempt after that, but the damage was done as the 10-0 run secured the win for the visitors.

Photo by Nathan Cambridge / The San Marino High boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons ended over the weekend, falling in their CIF Southern Section playoff brackets. Ahead of the final home game of the regular season, SMHS celebrated seniors on the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, which include Titans Sophia Papadopulos (front, from left), Malia Yu, Chloe Lin, team manager Kobee Wong. Back: Manager Matthew Jitngamplang, manager Sebastian Hu, Michael Najarian, Jack Fuerst, Adrian Huang, Dean Ryan, Bobby Reyes, Jayden Tse and Eli Chin.

“I thought we were in a good position,” Papadopulos said. “At one point we were down seven in that fourth quarter. I thought our defense was pretty solid, but you’ve got to really shoot the ball like we are capable of and we just didn’t have that tonight. We had the right people shooting, but we didn’t have the shooting night that we needed to beat a team like Alemany.”

Alemany (17-15 overall), the No. 6 entry from the vaunted Mission League and ranked No. 11 in Division III-A, now moves on to the quarterfinals.

“It was a tough one,” Alemany coach Mike DuLaney said. “San Marino never gave up and they came at us. They made some runs, [but] we made enough plays down the stretch.”

The final point of the Titan season came with 15 seconds to go on a free throw by Casey Chan.

The Titans were led in scoring by the sophomore Chen with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Reyes, in his final game as a Titan, scored 11 points.

“It was a good season,” Reyes said. “Unfortunate that it came to an end so soon. Like we said in the locker room: they are a Mission [League] team. One of the best leagues in the state, and they had fear in their eyes at one point in the game and that’s a big victory for us.”

Fellow seniors Jayden Tse and Jack Fuerst had nine and five points respectively. Mooney scored four points, while Chan and Marco Rangel each had three.

“[Alemany] obviously had height on us,” Fuerst said. “They were way more athletic than us. I’m proud of the way we fought. I think it was a 17-point game at one point, we got it down to seven and it could have gone either way at the end. It didn’t go our way, but I’m so proud of how we fought at the end.”

San Marino had the lead three times early in the first quarter, starting when Chan won the tip against Tshilobo and the Titans cashed in with a 3-pointer from Reyes. Tshilobo scored the next four on two layups, but Reyes put his team back in front with two free throws. Alemany scored the next three, but a 3-pointer from the corner by Fuerst put the Titans ahead 8-7. It was the last time San Marino would hold the lead, as the Warriors scored the last eight points of the quarter.

Chen scored the first two points of the second quarter with two free throws, but Alemany then took off on an 11-0 run. The next four points came from Mooney on a free throw and a make from beyond the arc, before the visitors pushed the advantage back to 16. Tse and then Rangel hit 3-pointers sandwiched around an attempt from beyond the arc by the Warriors before Chen made a fast-break layup to set the score at halftime of 33-22 in favor of the Warriors.

In the third quarter the Alemany advantage ballooned to 17 points, prompting a San Marino timeout. After that, the Titans went on a 7-0 run with two makes off the glass by Chen and a 3-pointer by Tse, assisted by Chen. The teams were even for the rest of the frame and it was 45-35 Alemany going into the fourth.

“Hopefully, we were the best team San Marino has ever seen since it started,” Tse said. “The players show it, the seniors can show it, our record shows it. I think the season as a whole was fun — competitive. We love each other.”

Reyes echoed that sentiment.

“Brotherhood is so important,” Reyes said. “We all love each other and I think that is why we came such a far way. It’s bigger than basketball.”


The Titans made it into the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, entering the CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship as the No. 4 entry from the Rio Hondo League.

San Marino made the trip to San Bernardino to play host Indian Springs in the Division III-A opener, the Mountain View League champion.

The Titans picked up the road win Feb. 7 over Indian Springs 65-52 to advance. Reyes led San Marino with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. Tse contributed 12 points and four steals, while Chen had 11 points and three assists. Fuerst had nine points.

First published in the Feb. 15 issue of the San Marino Tribune

Photo by Nathan Cambridge / The San Marino High School varsity boys’ basketball team includes (listed alphabetically) Brady Beck, Casey Chan, Nicholas Chen, Eli Chin, Jack Fuerst, Adrian Huang, Mitch Mooney, Michael Najarian, Marco Rangel, Robert Reyes, Leo Shyr, Nick Sung and Jayden Tse. The coaching staff includes (listed alphabetically) Ben Cordiero, Brandon Garner, Ralph Mohutsky, Damian Ortiz and Mihail Papadopulos.


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