Capping one of the greatest athletic careers in San Clemente High School History, senior forward Sam Darnold has been selected to the All-CIF Division 1AA Second Team. The two-sport athlete, who has committed to play quarterback for USC, also was the CIF Player of the Year in football.
The honor comes despite Darnold missing 10 games this season, nine of them due to football commitments and one because of an injury. He averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals per game. He shared South Coast League MVP honors with teammate Nick Crankshaw.
Triton Basketball Head Coach Marc Popovich has been named to the coaching staff for the South team at Saturday's Orange County All-Star Game to be played at 7 p.m. at Irvine Valley College. As previously reported, the Tritons' defensive MVP Nick Crankshaw will play in the contest. The event is sponsored by Open Gym Premier.
Having been teammates for more than a decade, Nick Crankshaw and Sam Darnold got to share one last high school honor when at the Triton Basketball Annual Banquet they were named Co-MVPs of the South Coast League for 2014-15. Addtionally, Crankshaw was recognized as defensive MVP of San Clemente's league championship varsity squad, while Darnold was selected as offensive MVP. Crankshaw will play in two Orange County All-Star games, the first being the Open Gym Premier event at 7 p.m. March 21 at Irvine Valley College.
Other award winner for the Triton Varsity were Joe Mann, first team All-South Coast League; Cade Griffin and Gage Shelmidine, second team All-South Coast League; Dillon Waikle, most improved player; and Mann and Scott Herrod, the Triton Basketball Award, recognizing exemplary dedication, commitment and character.
On the junior varsity level, Blake Birmingham was named most valuable player of the South Coast League champions. Jake Cameron was recognized as offensive player of the year; Roberto Medrano, defensive player of the year; and Aidan Butler, Iron Man Award.
For the league champion Triton Sophs, Kai Hadsall was named offensive player of the year; Trevor Ankrom, defensive player of the year; Michael Moran, most improved; and Jimmy Varos, Coaches' Award.
The Triton Frosh recognized Chris Kane as most valuable player; Branden Wilson, offensive player of the year; Max Marshall, most improved; and Calin Chin, Coaches Award.
As Triton Head Coach Marc Popovich explained to the media following the 61-59 playoff loss to Tustin which ended his team's season, if you'd told him after school that day that his all-league forward Sam Darnold would have an open 16 footer to tie the game at the buzzer, he'd take that every time.
History, in this most historical of Triton Basketball seasons, will show that the All-50 team member's shot came up just short. But not before the 50th Anniversary edition of the Tritons made lots of history of their own, culminating with what was really a teachable moment for what will be young San Clemente squads next year.
What if it didn't come down to one shot? What if there'd been one fewer foul? Or turnover? Or missed layup? Or missed free throw? Any of those could just as well have added to this year's legacy. And could do the same for future Triton seasons.
History will show that the 2014-15 Triton Varsity ended the season with a 19-8 record, the second most wins in school history. It won the South Coast League title with a perfect 8-0 record, the first undefeated league mark in school history.
The title also was San Clemente's second in three years, after the Tritons had gone 38 years between their first one in 1975 and their second in 2013. As part of that process, seniors Darnold and Nick Crankshaw and junior Cole Fotheringham became the only players in school history to win two varsity championships during their careers.
San Clemente's seventh consecutive CIF Playoff appearance, all during the tenure of Coach Popovich, was a school record. And the team had a 12-game winning streak before its season-ending loss.
In contrast to this year's senior laden lineup (there were 11 seniors on the 2014-15 varsity), the mantle will be turned over to a comparatively young squad in 2015-15.
As for those young Tritons, this year's Junior Varsity earned the program's best record at 21-3, as well as a share of the league championship.
The Triton Sophomores, at 14-7, also won a share of the league title. They ended the season by winning 12 of their final 15 games.
While the 15-8 Triton Frosh came up just a game short of first place, like the sophs, it recovered from a slow start by winning 14 of its last 17 games.
The Frosh B finished its season at 10-3, and joined the J.V. as the only Triton teams not to have a losing streak during the 2014-15 season.
Details of optional spring club teams led by Coach Duwayne Horn have been released. The first practice will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, in the Auxiliary Gym at San Clemente High School. The teams' first games will be on Saturday, March 14.
Regarding clue dues, the total fee is $600, with $400 payable on March 3, and the balance due on April 1. If paid in full on March 3, total dues are only $550.