The boys and girls basketball program at South Pasadena Middle School (SPMS) is excelling beyond expectations with the latest being league championships for three different teams.

The seventh-grade boys and girls teams along with the eighth-grade girls team swept their leagues claiming the top prize. The teams play in the 210 League, which comprises several schools in the region such as Jefferson Middle School, La Cañada Middle School and Oak Avenue Intermediate, to name just a few.

The seventh-grade girls went undefeated in the regular season and playoffs, according to school officials. The squad, coached by Derrick Wong, played the championship game at Oak Avenue in Temple City on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The team includes Sienna Ithurritze, Iris Pollard, Natalie Wilson, Anika Ebbert, Natalia Au, Kendall Taylor, Jessica Liu, Jamie Rain Kim, Kassidy Huie, Olivia Alfonso, Audrey Chen, Dylan Tse, and Yuzu Harada.

Iris Pollard summed up the team’s sentiments after winning the championship. 

“I love playing for SPMS,” Pollard said in an email to The Review. “It was a fun season. So great to go undefeated and play alongside my classmates.”

This is the third season in a row that a Derrick Wong-coached basketball team took home the top prize.

The teams are sponsored by the SPMS Booster Club, which is an organization of parents, neighbors, friends and fans with a goal of helping to support and enhance the after school athletic programs at SPMS. There are 13 competitive teams and multiple intramural programs at the Middle School throughout the year. To learn more about Boosters, visit https://sites.google.com/a/spusd.net/spms-athletics/booster-club.

“The Booster Club is grateful to the SPMS families and South Pasadena businesses and community members whose support makes it possible for student athletes like these to compete in the 210 League,” Karie Reynolds, SPMS Booster Club President, said in an email to The Review. “We’re proud of what the basketball teams accomplished.” 

Meanwhile, the seventh-grade boys, coached by Todd Brown, were also undefeated during the regular season and won the championship in front of a large home crowd against La Cañada.

It was a close and dramatic game but the boys pulled out the win with a final score of 48-45.

The team includes: Titus Rodz, Lionelle Limqueco llimq, Kennedy Mitchell-Egbol, Niko Bido, Isaiah Hyun, Christopher Wong, Nathan Kawasaki, Colin Wong, Nigel Mundara, Gavin Faulmino, Devin Robinson and Aren Gerard Barles.

And finally the eighth-grade girls were victorious against Jefferson, besting a talented squad, 38-32. They also went undefeated in the regular season.

The girls team, coached by Jalynne Li, consists of Ellie Chen, Kyra Nielsen, Jade Shimamoto, Ruth Schmidt, Allison Lee, Lotis Shoun, Callie Pestana, Daniella Lat, Tyra Williams and Zoe Williams.

Faculty Advisor Andrew Adanto summed up the Middle School’s successful basketball program, saying the excellent play fosters school pride.

“I’m very proud of all three SPMS basketball teams and coaches,” Adanto said in an email to The Review. “It was a pleasure watching them in action.”

The next SPMS Boosters fundraiser is at PitFire in Pasadena, 730 S. Arroyo Parkway, from 3-9 p.m. on Feb. 13. Then on March 23, SPMS Boosters and D.U.D.E.S. are having their fifth-annual Main Event Poker Tournament starting at 6:30 p.m. at the War Memorial on Fair Oaks Avenue.

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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