It was a terrific Thursday for the Pirates, as they ended four days of Holiday hoops by treating their fans to a gritty 52-45 victory over perennial CIF-Los Angeles City Section power Crenshaw of Los Angeles to capture their own Pirate Shootout in only the second time even reaching the championship game itself. San Pedro's only other finals appearance was the second year of the tournament, finishing runner-up to Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates in 2009.
The first quarter saw Crenshaw score the opening basket during the first minute of the game, then San Pedro (7-4 overall) took charge from there, ending the quarter on a 20-2 run when junior guard Anthony Hrboka buried a transition three-pointer from the left corner before time expired for a 20-4 lead.
San Pedro's scoring run extended (and ended) to a 23-2 run on another Hrboka triple to begin the second quarter, then struggled to score for a good stretch thanks to a persistent and pestering defensive attack from the Cougars (8-5), who trailed 27-15 at halftime. Crenshaw closed the gap to 32-26 by the end of the third quarter before San Pedro scored 11 of the first 15 points scored in the final frame to go up 43-30 with 4:39 to play in the game.
Suddenly, Crenshaw once again drew within earshot of the Pirates before senior point guard Volney Griffin buried what proved to be a pivotal three-pointer for a 48-38 lead with just over two minutes to play, but in less than a minute, the Cougars narrowed their deficit down to 48-45 with 1:32 left.
On two occasions, Crenshaw misfired on potential game-tying three-point attempts, and San Pedro was able to survive as Hrboka successfully hit all four free throws to secure the history-making victory.
Not lost in the shuffle by any means, was the outstanding play off the bench by junior guard Achilleas Papadopoulos.
While the Pirates were attempting their last surge early in the fourth quarter, it was Papadopoulos who provided the biggest lift, scoring seven of his nine points, including a crucial three-point play during that 11-4 run to begin the quarter.
"Achilleas really sparked us off the bench," San Pedro coach John Bobich said.
Hrboka and Griffin both were named Co-Most Valuable Players of the 2021 San Pedro Pirate Shootout. The returning All-City guard scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Griffin, a steady contributor at both ends, finished with 8 points and 7 assists. Seniors guard Boston Wimberly (12 points, 10 in the first half), and forward Keith Vaughn Jr. (7 points, 12 rebounds) were also named as all-tournament selections. All four of them combined with everyone else who played, were tremendous defensively against the Cougars.
"Anthony and Volney really stepped up in this tournament," Bobich said. "All in all, it was a team defensive effort holding a talented team like Crenshaw to 45 points."
During the four-day tournament, San Pedro also defeated Locke (91-29), crosstown neighbor Mary Star Of The Sea (65-50) and South Torrance (61-56) on the way to winning the Pirate Shootout.
In other local action in the same Pirate Shootout, Mary Star captured seventh place in the tournament with a 59-56 double overtime victory over Eagle Rock. Junior guard Luka Fiamengo scored a game-high 24 points for the Stars (6-10), 11 of which combined in both overtime periods. Fiamengo also hit a game-tying three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first overtime. Port Of Los Angeles lost 61-55 to Locke in the eleventh place game.