SAN MARINO — Perhaps there's no plainer way to state the obvious.
The San Marino High boys’ basketball team was out of its element Wednesday evening and, as a result, may very well be out of the Rio Hondo League title chase after a discouraging 66-24 loss to league-leading Temple City on Wednesday evening.
“We just have to move forward from this. That was a bucket game. Temple City shot well, moved the ball well and played as well as they had all year long,” Titans Coach Mihail Papadopulos said. “We just have to do better. It’s not effort, it’s just about executing in these big games and we didn’t do that tonight.”
With the victory, Division III-AA seventh-ranked Temple City (17-5 overall, 7-0 in league), winner of eight straight, marches into its league showdown Friday versus visiting defending co-league champion La Cañada (13-10, 5-1 heading into Wednesday) at 7 p.m.
San Marino (12-12, 4-3), which had won four of its last five, surrendered the season sweep to the Rams and remained in third place in league after the defeat.
From a statistical standpoint, the Rams hammered the Titans on Wednesday, as Temple City shot 10 for 24 (42%) from behind the arc in comparison to one-for-13 shooting (8%) for San Marino.
The Rams also won the battle of the boards, 38-16, while owning the offensive glass, 13-4.
Temple City led, 16-8, after one quarter behind a pair of threes from senior Eric Olivas, who was five for 10 overall from the behind the arc in finishing with 17 points.
The Rams then created separation in the second quarter, winning the frame, 14-4, in going up, 30-12, at halftime behind a defense that held the Titans to two-for-11 shooting in the quarter.
Perhaps the play of the quarter came off a rebound from senior guard Brandon Lee at the Titans’ three-point line. Lee snatch the ball and chucked a 50-foot outlet pass to a streaking Felix Awujo (game-high 20 points) for a perfectly synchronized layup at 6:19 that put Temple City ahead, 21-8, and led to a timeout from Papadopulos.
“We wanted to pressure San Marino and we wanted to make sure we got some ball movement,” Temple City Coach Eric Chin said. “We’re a pretty good passing team. So, when we pass the ball, Eric gets open and Felix gets open and they made their shots.”
The Rams then left no doubt in the third, taking the period, 15-7, in going up, 45-19, heading into the fourth.
“This was a big game against a good team and we needed to work on our toughness, our rebounding and attacking,” Papadopulos said. “You learn a lot from these games and we’ve got a lot to improve.”
Jasper Hwang led the Titans with 12 points and four rebounds.