San Marino men’s basketball team wins league title, first since 1981 – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
SAN MARINO >> It had been so long since the San Marino men’s basketball team had been so relevant, no one knew what to make of his impressive December resume.
Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore.
San Marino cruised to a thrilling 77-71 win over South Pasadena in overtime on Friday to clinch at least a share of the Rio Hondo League title. This is the Titans’ first since 1981.
Titans’ Adrian Huang came off the bench and scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lift the No. 1-ranked CIF South Division 4AA Titans to a big win after the Tigers rallied for force overtime.
San Marino (20-2, 8-1) plays La Cañada (18-7, 7-2) on Saturday at 8 p.m. If the Titans win, they will win the league title. They would share the league title with South Pasadena (17-8, 8-2) and La Cañada if they lose.
That would be one way for the Titans to do it. South Pasadena is ranked No. 1 in Division 3A and La Cañada is No. 2.
From the start, the Titans fed on the energy of the crowd inside their crowded gymnasium. San Marino built a 15-10 lead in the first quarter thanks to nine points from Huang. The Titans extended the lead to 21-13 in the second quarter before the Tigers came back strong to cut the lead to 21-19.
The Titans quickly responded with a 14-0 run thanks to a 3-point shoot-off. Jayden Tse came off the bench to hit two of them while Truman Koch and Robert Reyes hit the other two. San Marino led 35-22 at halftime.
South Pasadena cut the Titans’ lead through Sage Wayans. He scored 11 of his 20 points in the third quarter, pushing the Titans players inside. The Tigers cut the deficit to six at 47-41 late in the third.
Huang kept San Marino in the lead as he raced to the basket for a layup. He was fouled and finished the game 3-point early in the fourth to give the Titans a 50-42 lead. He then hit a baseline 3 with less than six minutes left to extend San Marino’s lead to 53-43.
South Pasadena kept hooking up. Jonathan Guy hit a 19-foot jumper with 1:30 left to cut the Titan lead to 60-58. He then drilled a baseline 3 with 36 seconds left to give South Pasadena a 61-60 lead. Guy finished with 15 points. Wayans fouled seconds later. San Marino’s Michael Azinge then made one of two free throws to tie the game.
South Pasadena had one final rule change to win, but a Dillon Akers 3-pointer as time ran out missed.
Azinge then used his size in overtime to outplay the Tiger defenders without the Wayans 6-7 in the game. Azinge had four free throws and scored twice under the basket for eight of his 19 points. His lay-up before the foul gave San Marino a 69-64 lead with 1:35 to go.
Huang put an exclamation mark on San Marino’s victory. He scored on a lay-up with 50 seconds left to put his team up 71-66. He then hit two free throws with 20 seconds remaining to put San Marino ahead 73-68 and made the final two free throws of the game with less than a second remaining.