First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
South Pasadena High School’s varsity girls’ basketball team has been nearly perfect to open the season, jumping out to a stellar 10-1 overall record.
The hot start comes on the heels of last season’s first-place Rio Hondo League finish, as the Tigers had an immaculate 8-0 league record (16-7 overall). With the recent success, fifth-year head coach Cody Masden is seeking the Tigers’ first CIF championship in school history.
“I think our main goal is to win our CIF 2A championship. Then we want to win league and get into the state playoffs,” said Masden, an SPHS graduate. “I think our goals are just to go big or go home. We really want to get into the CIF championship game.”
The Tigers have been ranked No. 3 in Division 2A by the CIF-SS Girls Basketball Advisory Committee.
Last season ended in heartbreak fashion as the Tigers were six points away from a CIF Division 3A championship appearance but lost to San Dimas, 66-60, in the semifinals.
“Since we returned such a large group, they are just really hungry to build on what we had last year,” Masden said. “We saw how close we could get and I think — from top to bottom — we are all hungry for that opportunity again.”
The Tigers have played on all cylinders, holding opponents to fewer than 50 points in eight of 11 games. SPHS has also scored 50-plus points in nine of its 11 games, which Masden said highlights the Tigers’ offensive and defensive capabilities.
The Tigers recently extended their winning streak to three games after defeating Hacienda Heights Wilson High, 74-39, Pasadena Poly, 75-36, and Glendale, 76-35.
“It’s a testament to our team chemistry because to put those amounts of points up, everybody has to be contributing, everybody has to be an aggressor,” Masden said. “What’s important about us achieving those numbers is we are also holding teams to some of their lowest scores. Whenever they play South Pas, they have to deal with tough defense, too.”
Senior guard Allysan Tse has been one of the Tigers’ top performers, averaging a double-double this season with 20 points per game and 13 rebounds per game. She had a season-high 32-point performance against Pasadena Poly.
Sophomore point guard Dylan Tse has been keeping pace with her sister, also averaging 20 points and five steals per game. She registered a season-high 31-point effort against Mission Hills Bishop Alemany on Nov. 23, as SPHS won 60-57.
“Our standouts are definitely the Tse sisters,” Masden said. “Allysan is the heart and soul of our team; she does all the dirty work and all of her offensive work is a bonus to us. And Dylan is just an amazing shooter and amazing team player.”
Senior center Alyssa Chan has also averaged a double-double this season, logging 10 points and 10 rebounds per game.
“Alyssa doesn’t put up the flashy points but she’s our anchor on defense,” Masden said. “She plays center for us and she’s only about 5 feet-9 inches,” so she’s always guarding the biggest player and has to hold it down in the paint for us. When we need her, she steps up and gives us big buckets.”