Coming off a close loss to Renaissance Academy in the finals of the Artesia Classic Tournament, the San Pedro High boys basketball team was hoping to avoid the rough start that doomed them in that 59-57 defeat as they opened Marine League play against visiting King-Drew Medical of Los Angeles.
Once again, the Pirates started slow, as the Golden Eagles built a 13-5 lead in the first four minutes, but then the Pirates would go on a 12-4 run to close the quarter in a sequence that was all a blur.
That opening run, along with a solid second half would be more than enough for San Pedro to defeat King-Drew, 74-61 in front of a excited crowd at San Pedro High. Not only did the Pirates (6-4 overall, 1-0 league) recover from the loss to Renaissance Academy, it was also somewhat sweet revenge for a one-point loss to the Golden Eagles the last time they visited San Pedro's gymnasium.
It all goes back to that late first quarter surge.
First came a layup by senior reserve forward Michael Loughry, then a driving circus layup by senior point guard Khalil Dave. Then came a fast-break slam dunk by senior forward Quincy Thomas, and then Dave hit Loughry with a perfect pass for a layup at the buzzer. King-Drew would only lead 17-15 after one quarter, but once Thomas hit a three-pointer to open the second quarter to give the Pirates their first lead at 18-17, it was all Pirates, slowly, but surely.
San Pedro would lead 33-29 at halftime, then 58-48 through three quarters after the Pirates would score 25 points in the quarter, sparked by senior G/F Jonathan Soto, who scored 8 of his 10 points off easy layups due to great passes from Dave, who had 10 points and 8 assists and 3 steals on the night. The zone defense of the Golden Eagles (9-6, 0-2) was ripped to shreds by Dave's brilliant passing.
Then Thomas would take over in the fourth quarter, as he played those final 8 minutes on a mission, going to the basket with reckless abandon, attempting four dunks, only one of which connected on a fast-break after a block from Soto.
Thomas would deliver a double-double performance with 27 points and 14 rebounds, also adding three steals for San Pedro, while senior forward James Fish also chipped in with 14 points and five rebounds, also hitting a trio of three-pointers. Soto added six rebounds as well for the Pirates.
A driving layup by Thomas midway through the fourth quarter would give San Pedro its biggest lead of the night at 67-52 before King-Drew went on a modest 8-0 run to slice the lead down to 67-60. A three-pointer from senior guard Zach Foster and two final baskets by Thomas, including his second dunk of the night, would seal the deal.
San Pedro will next travel to Banning of Wilmington for their next Marine League game on Friday.