Hwang, Titans move into tourney finalBasketball: San Marino boys stave off St. Monica, 55 50.

December 02, 2011By Emin Avakian, Special to the Sun

BURBANK Behind stifling defense and solid play from junior guard Jasper Hwang, the San Marino High boys basketball team advanced to the finals of the Paul Sutton Tip Off Classic.

Hwang paced the offense with 19 points, 10 coming in the second quarter when the Titans turned up the intensity and forced eight turnovers to take their first lead and one that would not be relinquished in a 55 50 victory over semifinal opponent Santa Monica St. Monica Friday night at Providence High.

key that we perform defensively, said second year Titans Coach Mihail Papadopulos, who has the Titans off to a 3 0 start. not big so we have to be smart and aggressive. Our defense leads to our offense. teams struggled in the first quarter, limping to a 11 11 tie score after the first eight minutes, and battled to a tightly contested second quarter until Hwang four point play late in the frame gave the Titans their largest lead of the game up until that point at 25 16.

Three possessions later, Hwang had another opportunity to convert a four point play, but missed the free throw. The field goal from behind the arc put San Marino (3 0) back up by nine and ended a short 4 0 run by the Mariners that had them within two possessions of tying the score.

The junior guard staved off the Nike Roshe Run Mariners almost single handedly, scoring 10 of the Titans final 12 points in the quarter.

guard play was great on both ends, St. Monica Coach Michael Cuto said. hung tough, but ultimately couldn get on top. two quarters, Hwang and teammate Max Taw put in 19 of the team 31.

started taking care of the ball and making smarter passes, said Hwang when asked what adjustments were made after a first quarter in which the team committed seven turnovers.

found my stroke and put it in. It was just one of those days. Mariners cut the lead to as close as 36 32 in the third quarter before the Titans closed the quarter on an 8 2 run. The strong finish to the quarter came shortly after Papadopulos called a timeout to end Nike Free Run St. Monica momentum.

San Marino defense held the Mariners to three for 11 shooting in the third quarter.

The lead would be cut to four again in the fourth quarter, but with under a minute remaining, Hwang dish to Andrew Martinez inside for a layup sealed the deal Nike Roshe Run for the Titans, whose program is seeing real success after years of struggle and progression.

means a lot that we can prove that we can compete in a final, said Papadopulos, who carries 10 seniors on the squad. put in a lot of work and are excited for this opportunity. going to make a lot of mistakes, but I think we pull through, said Hwang of Saturday night championship game that will be played at Providence High at 7:30 against the host Pioneers.

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