The San Pedro Prep Sports world began not-so normally, with many sports teams at San Pedro, Mary Star Of The Sea and Port Of Los Angeles High Schools all hoping to just play again due to the overwhelming nature of the coronavirus pandemic which caused a national shutdown on March 14, 2020.
Everything returned with a carefully planned twist in March for Mary Star, while San Pedro and Port Of Los Angeles resumed in April.
What soon followed thereafter, is a cavalcade of amazing moments to relive as 2021 draws nearer to a close.
From an abbreviated four-game spring football season, all the way to the return of the pre-Christmas San Pedro Pirate Shootout boys basketball tournament (which the Pirates eventually won), it was truly a sensational 2021 considering the circumstances we are still living in with even two new variants of the coronavirus causing a recent wave of concern.
Here are the top five stories.
1. Mary Star High Girls Basketball Makes History In Becoming School's First CIF-Southern Section Sports Champion
For the second straight year, coach Victor Tuberosi & the Stars grab the top headlines in San Pedro Prep Sports, and this time it is no longer a shock.
June 10, 2021 will forever be embedded in the minds of Tuberosi, the eleven girls on this amazing team, all who attended the small gymnasium on Taper Avenue, and every single Mary Star High alumni and administration who either witnessed the game in person, watched it outdoors on campus on the big screen near the main office, or surprisingly read it in the local newspapers.
It was on that day, that the Stars defeated Agoura of Agoura Hills, 54-50 to capture the CIF-Southern Section Division 4-AA championship in front of a standing-room only crowd at Mary Star High, a first for the program, and the sports teams at the long-standing San Pedro-based Catholic school that waited 67 years for their time to finally come.
Mary Star (22-1 overall) didn't stop there, reaching the CIF-Southern California Regional Division 3-AA championship game after back-to-back victories over Crenshaw and Westchester, and currently in the 2021-2022 season, the Stars are 9-3 with a few more impressive victories over Santiago of Garden Grove, Palos Verdes, Lakewood and Los Altos in the Glenn-Norwalk Tournament championship game.
With 2021 CIF-SS Division 4-AA Player Of The Year sophomore forward Madison Watts, fellow sophomore guard Drea Lopez and junior guard Bella Marconi all returning, the Stars could make more noise now competing in Division 2-A.
2. San Pedro High Baseball Wins The 2021 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division Championship
While the northern area of San Pedro was still celebrating history, the southern area in town also ended up celebrating their own brand of history just nine days later.
On June 19, 2021, the Pirates' baseball team fulfilled what was their determined date with destiny with a rousing fifth inning comeback to defeat El Camino Real, 7-6 in front of a large capacity crowd at San Pedro High to become the school's first CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division sports champion. A dramatic two-run home run by now-graduated Dominic Porter with one-out in the bottom of the fifth inning put the Pirates ahead for good, giving coach Steve Tedesco the perfect send-off in his eighth and final season at the helm.
Dylan Kordic, the 2021 CIF-LACS Player Of The Year, had a monumental season at the plate, and ended up getting the six-out save on the mound by striking out the final two batters faced.
Not lost in the euphoria of their amazing season, San Pedro (17-8) also won a fourth consecutive Marine League title and before reaching the title game, ended the three-year reign as champion for Birmingham of Lake Balboa with a 7-0 semifinal triumph on June 16. CIF-LACS Co-Pitcher Of The Year Zack Geiss pitched a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts in the win. Geiss is verbally committed to Cal State Dominguez Hills.
3. San Pedro High Girls Volleyball Makes Promising Postseason Push
In the first full season for coach Sean Zuvich, San Pedro (18-12) was sensational.
Capturing a share of the Marine League title with Carson after a slow start in the early going of the season, the Pirates made it a season to remember even without capturing a CIF championship, reaching the CIF-LACS Division 1 championship game, and becoming the first in school history to win not one, but two CIF Southern California Regional playoff games with back-to-back sweeps of North Hollywood and East of Bakersfield.
Several will return for San Pedro in 2022, including Marine League Player Of The Year in sophomore setter Kalia Teofilo, and three more All-City selections along with her in juniors Jamie Roth, Elaine Turituri and Kennedy Kordic.
4. San Pedro High Football Reaches The CIF-LACS Open Division Championship Game
In the first full season in two years, San Pedro, despite losing two games on the field and not being able to play two others due to health and safety protocols, had a marvelous season at 10-2 and making it all the way to the CIF-LACS Open Division finals, where Birmingham successfully defended their title from two years ago.
A record-setting campaign for senior quarterback Aidan Jackson as he threw for 2,280 yards and 32 touchdowns, breaking two single-season records, along with a relentless defensive pursuit that pitched six shutouts, made it a season worth looking back on for the Pirates, who defeated Roosevelt of Los Angeles and Palisades Charter to advance to their ninth CIF-LACS final in program history.
5. The Unexpected Passing Of A San Pedro Coaching Legend
In July of 2021, San Pedro High boys and girls cross-country great Bruce Thomson, just months after retiring, suddenly passed away while on a morning workout.
Thomson's legacy will no doubt be felt all around San Pedro as in his coaching days with the Pirates, captured 15 CIF-LACS championships (9 girls, 6 boys) and countless Marine League titles, not to mention, his demeanor as an all-around great human being both at Peck Park and in the trenches of workouts, will be greatly missed.
Throughout my time as a sports journalist, attending cross-country meets was few and far between, but Thomson was always welcoming in my times attending when I was able to over the years. Working with him as well when he was the public address announcer at football home games from 2004-2020 was also a joy because Thomson was a true, first-class professional in how he called games.
There are other moments in 2021 which also deserves some mentioning, like San Pedro softball winning the Marine League championship, Port Of Los Angeles baseball repeating as Coliseum League champions, and San Pedro boys basketball winning their own Pirate Shootout tournament for the first time in the tournament's 13-year history after a one-year absence.