Mixed Bag For Hoops Squad

Senior Alan Quan (left) drained a key jumper on Wednesday as the South Pas boys basketball team closed its week with a 74-68 win at Blair in the Tigers’ Rio Hondo League Opener. The Tigers went 2-1 for the week, but coach Ernest Baskerville (below) still saw room for improvement. Photos by Ahmad M. Akkaoui

The South Pas High boys basketball Tigers improved their record to 12-3 this past week after beating Bosco Tech 62-31 on Saturday at the East LA College Showcase, losing at Flintridge Prep in overtime 50-46 on Monday, and winning their first game of the Rio Hondo League, 74-68 on Wednesday at Blair.

The Tigers started off Saturday’s game slowly and were down at the end of the first quarter before getting into a rhythm and beating Bosco Tech easily.

Senior forward Billy Reed had 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six rebounds while sophomore guard Niko Lawrence added 10 points.

South Pas traveled to La Cañada Flintridge to face the Rebels on Monday and were given good competition.

It took a few minutes for either team to score in the beginning of the first two quarters, but it was a close battle with Flintridge Prep up by one at halftime.

The Tigers shot 4-for-17 from the field and 2-for-11 from three in the first half. They gave up the ball a lot and needed to fix their mistakes at halftime in order to win the game.

South Pas started playing solid defense but couldn’t sustain its lead for long, and the Rebels came back to tie it at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter came down to the wire, with senior point guard Preston Sharkey tying the game with a second left on the clock on a floater in the paint.

The overtime didn’t look good for the Tigers, as they were limited to only two points coming from a layup by senior Rodney Ortega to start the game. Reed had a chance to tie the game on a close layup, but it didn’t fall.

Head coach Ernest Baskerville said his Tigers played out of the ordinary on Monday.

“They’re not playing smart … they need to play together as a team and move the ball around,” he said after the game.

“That is not indicative of how we play basketball and how we’ve been teaching them how to play. … We had seven assists for the whole game, but we had 16 turnovers. That’s not good. We’re not sharing the ball — we’re just giving the ball away.”

Reed finished the game with 18 points and Ortega added nine points against the Rebels.

South Pas started Wednesday’s game a little slowly as well, giving up back-to-back threes in the first two possessions and giving Blair the lead at the end of the first quarter. Blair’s pesky defense was paying off, and its two guards were dominating against South Pas, combining for 27 of Blair’s 38 first half points.

After being outscored in both quarters, South Pas came out of the locker room itching to get back into the game. The Tigers were able to climb back to tie it within a few minutes and began to get out to a double-digit lead to finish the third quarter due to Reed’s aggressive play. He had 13 of his 33 total points in the quarter and added 11 rebounds in the game.

Blair made some adjustments defensively going into the fourth quarter, and it seemed to work, as it came back and tied the game midway through the quarter.

After trading a few buckets, South Pas was able to score and get a stop defensively and had possession with less than a minute left up two points. The Tigers inbounded the ball, ran a play, senior Alan Quan got open and drained a mid-range jump shot to go up four points with 20 seconds to go in the game.

After Blair’s miss from the 3-point line and an intentional foul, sophomore guard Jay Kim made two free throws and sealed the Tigers’ win. Kim finished the game with 13 points.

“I’ll take a win. It wasn’t the prettiest, but I’ll take a win — the first one for us in the Rio Hondo League,” Baskerville said.

“We had a great third quarter — we started to recognize that we should get the ball to Billy down low and we got a chance to score at will. We went 12-for-16 in that half. … We did our job — we got the win. If it’s by one or one hundred, I’ll take it.”

South Pas’ next league game is against La Cañada on Friday at 7 p.m. at South Pasadena Middle School.