It didn’t take long for South Pasadena High to dispatch its first round opponent in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA boys’ basketball playoffs as the Tigers rolled to lopsided 72-41 first round win over Sunny Hills at home Wednesday night.
A solid effort from the outset, South Pasadena led 14-6 after the first quarter, grabbed a commanding 35-16 lead at the half and coasted to the finish, outscoring their visitors 18-14 in the third quarter and 19-11 in the fourth.
“South Pasadena worked well together as a team, with everyone pitching in on offense and defense,” said SPHS Athletic Director CB Richards when it was all over. “Their teamwork played a big part in their success, especially at this important time of the season.”
With the victory, the Tigers are now set to travel to Valley View High School in Moreno Valley on Friday, February 9, for a 7 p.m. second round CIF contest.
Russell Williams, a senior, led the Tigers in scoring against Sunny Hills with 22 points, followed by senior Derek Peterson with 13 and Jacob Arias, a junior, with 10. Rounding out the scoring were junior Sebastian Martinez with 8, junior Jack Madison with 7, juniors Miles Nowe and Oni Balogun with 5, along with Taj Ringer, a senior, with 2.
South Pasadena continues to put together one of its finest seasons in years, winning the Rio Hondo League outright, compiling a highly impressive 23-6 overall record to date and now has eyes on a long-awaited CIF-SS title, on step at a time.
The combination of a solid rebounding night by the Tigers’ Jack Madison, a strong defense, the team hitting on 55 percent of their shots, along with a series of second chance points was the difference in Wednesday night’s win, explained Richards, praising the effort of those out on the floor.
“Holding Sunny Hills to 16 points [in the first half] played a crucial role in their victory,” he said. “This first round win has a lot to do with the guidance of their coaching staff. You can start to see the team peaking on both offense, defense and transition game, but really in the team chemistry.”
Joining the SPHS boys’ program in having a remarkable season is the Tigers’ varsity girls unit, now 24-4, as the Tigers will host Glendora High Thursday night at home in a 7 p.m. CIF-SS 3A first round encounter.
Proudly, both South Pasadena’s boys and girls’ units won the Rio Hondo League in the same year, perhaps an historical first for the school. Both squads combined for a 46-10 record.
Thursday night’s girls’ basketball game concludes a busy week in which SPHS hosted four straight CIF matchups, starting with boys’ soccer on Monday, girls’ water polo on Tuesday, and boys’ basketball on Wednesday.
“Let’s keep celebrating the accomplishments of our dedicated teams by showing up to cheer them on at CIF-SS games,” said Richards, appreciating the town’s support.