Senior Gage Shelmidine, co-South Coast League MVP for the back-to-back league champion Triton Varsity, has committed to play basketball for Westmont College in Santa Barbara. The NAIA school has been to 17 national championship tournaments, finishing as runnerup in 2015.
A 5-11, 165 pound point guard, Shelmidine averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game during his senior campaign, his third as a starter for the Tritons. He attended and played for Saddleback Valley Christian during his freshman year.
Besides his all-league honors, Shelmidine was the recipient of the 2015-16 Triton Basketball Award, was named to both the Open Gym Premier and Orange County Optimists all-star teams. and was a second team All-CIF Division 1AA selection. He is one of only six players in Triton Basketball history to win multiple varsity league championships during his playing career.
At Westmont, he will join former Triton Nick Crankshaw, who graduated in 2015, also with all-league and all-CIF honors.
Co-South Coast League MVPs Cole Fotheringham and Gage Shelmidine were the top award winners at Triton Basketball's 51st Annual Awards Banquet. In addition to the all-league honors, Fotheringham was selected as the Triton Varsity's team MVP. Shelmidine won the prestigious Triton Basketball Award, which is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the traits desired in an SCHS basketball player. It is the one award that is displayed in the team room.
Dillon Waikle also was named to the South Coast League first team and was selected as San Clemente's Offensive Player of the Year. James Paterson won Defensive Player of the Year and All-League Second Team honors. He was joined there by Jake Cameron. Blake Birmingham made it six Tritons recognized by the league when he earned All-League Honorable Mention.
On the junior varsity level, Evan Banks was named team MVP. Daniel MIrcheff won Offensive Player of the Year; Kurt Crapo earned to Coaches' Award and Jacob Nemeth took home the Most Improved Player Award.
For the Triton Sophs, Calin Chin was Offensive Player of the Year; Michael McGreevy, Defensive Player of the Year; Josh Walker, Coaches' Award; and Fletcher Ames, Most Improved Player.
And on the freshman level, Anthony Smetona was Offensive Player of the Year; Miguel Ashe, Defensive Player of the Year; Zeeshan Ihani, Coaches' Award; and McClay Gibbons, Most Improved Player.
The banquet was held in the Signature Grille at Talega Golf Club.
Senior forward Dillon Waikle and senior point guard Gage Shelmidine have been selected to play in the 54th Annual Orange County Optimist Club All-Star Game to be played on April 23. In addition, Triton Head Coach Marc Popovich was named coach of the South Team.
Waikle was San Clemente's leading scorer at 14 points per game. He also was second on the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game and first in blocked shots at 2.9 per game. Shelmidine was the team's second-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, and led the Tritons in assists at 5.3 per game.
Coach Popovich's team won back-to-back league championships for the first time in program history and broke the school record for wins with 21. He has won three league titles in the past fours years after San Clemente had endured a 38-year championship drought.
Seniors Jake Cameron and Cole Fotheringham along with their Triton Varsity teammates took part in a partial rewrite of the school record book during the 2015-16 season.
Cameron set the tone early by tying the school record for three pointers in a game when he hit eight against Woodbridge in the team's home opener on December 10. Cody Bean in 2012-13 and Ben Straley in 1999-2000 still share the record. Coincidentally, Bean also had his eight threes against Woodbridge. Cameron would go on to break the school record for three pointers in a season by making 72.
Fotheringham took a little longer to make his mark. A four-year varsity letterman, the program's first since a decade, he shattered the school record for career wins with 70. The 6-5 forward also became the only player in program history to win three league championships during his career.
Overall the team, which became the first back-to-back league champions in program history, posted a school record for wins at 21.
Holding San Clemente more than 17 points below its season scoring average and hitting a team season-high 11 three-pointers, Downey ended the Triton Varsity's record-setting season, 55-49, in the second round of the CIF 1AA Playoffs. The Tritons finish with a record of 21-7, the most wins in program history, as well as its first back-to-back league championships.
The Vikings took control of the game for good in the second quarter, pulling away to a seven-point half-time lead that was never seriously threatened. They built the lead to as many as 12. The Tritons got with two once, at 39-37 in the third quarter, and within four several times. But each time either Downey hit one of its three-pointers or San Clemente committed one of its season-high 20 turnovers, including six travelling violations, derailing any Triton rally.
Though San Clemente shot a respectable 47 percent from the field, it attempted a season-low 36 field goals. It shot more three-pointers (8 of 19) than two-pointers (9 of 17). But the turnovers and lack of offensive rebounds prevented the Tritons from having enough attempts to approach its season scoring average of 67 points per game.
Jake Cameron led San Clemente with 17 points, including five three-pointers. Cole Fotheringham had 13, including nine of the Tritons's first 14 points. He only had two shot attempts thereafter. James Paterson added 9 and Dillon Waikle 7. Blake Birmingham hit a three-pointer in the game's final minute as the Tritons attempted one last rally.
With the top 10 teams in the CIF 1AA Division being promoted to the Open Division for the playoffs, San Clemente, champions of the South Coast League, moved up to the seventh seed and will host No. 26 Fountain Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a first-round playoff game.
The Barons, 16-2 overall, but 1-9 in the tough Sunset League, got into the playoffs as an at-large team, despite finishing tied for last in league. They have lost their last seven games, but got the playoff nod on the strength of an early-season record that had them at 16-5 before their woes in league play.
The two teams had one common opponent during the season, Edison. The Tritons lost to the Chargers, 78-73, on December 16 at the Irvine World News Tournament in a game which San Clemente (20-6, 7-1) led by eight with less than two and a half minutes to play.
Fountain Valley faced Edison twice in league, losing 50-45 on January 22 and 76-57 on February 9.
Offensively, the Tritons average 67.9 points per game to the Barons' 59. But Fountain Valley gives up fewer points, 53.1 per game to San Clemente's 57.
A definite size advantage will tilt toward the Tritons. Fountain Valley has only two players listed at 6-3 or taller. With its playoff promotions, San Clemente will have 10, including 6-3, 6-5 and 6-11 starters, James Paterson, Cole Fother-ingham and Dillon Waikle, respectively.
And while the Triton starters are all seniors, the Barons do not have a senior on their roster. But they do have shooters.
Leading scorer Matt Serven, a junior guard, is averaging 18.1 points per game and has made 97 three-pointers this season. Another junior guard, Mike Lightbody, has connected on 70 threes. He is the Barons' second-leading scorer at 9.1 points per game.
San Clemente, by contrast, has five players averaging above that mark, including team leader Waikle at 14.3 and point guard Gage Shelmidine at 13.9. Fotheringham is at 11.8, Jake Cameron at 10.3 and Blake Birmingham at 9.2.
Serven, like Cameron, made eight three-pointers in a game earlier this season, and has three times each made six and five three-pointers in a game. Cameron leads the Tritons with 62 three-pointers this season. Waikle has made 55 and Birmingham 43.
Besides becoming the first four-year varsity letterman in Triton Basketball history to wear four different jersey numbers during his career, senior forward Cole Fotheringham has achieved a couple of more notable mile-
stones during his senior season.
First, he became the first San Clemente player to win three varsity league titles. Further, when the team notched its 10th win this season, he became the winningest player in Triton Basketball history. He is now at 69 wins and counting, and is the first four-year varsity letterman since Taylor Harrison in 2006.
Three other Tritons joined the exclusive club of those who have earned mutliple league championships at San Clemente. They are senior James Paterson, Gage Shelmidine and Dillon Waikle, all of who also played on the 2015 championship team. The only others with multiple titles in school history are 2015 Nick Crankshaw and Sam Darnold, who achieved it with championship in 2013 and 2015.
On the morning of the Triton Varsity's Coast View Conference crossover game at Tesoro, OC Varsity's Steve Fryer, considered by many the dean of Orange County high school sports reporters, penned an article saying the Titans were a team "surging at the right time." He went on to rank the Titans 17th in the county, one spot ahead of San Clemente. The Tritons (19-6, 6-1) delivered a resounding response to what they considered an affront by routing Tesoro 59-37, putting a damper on Tesoro's senior night festivities.
The result also represented validation for the Coast View Conference structure, with the upper-tier South Coast League champion Tritons defeating the lower-tier Sea View League champion Titans.
San Clemente took a narrow, 11-10, lead into the second quarter, but assumed control for good by holding Tesoro to only four second-quarter points. It also held the Titans in single digits, eight, in the fourth period.
Senior Dillon Waikle paced the Tritons on offense with 22 points. Cole Fotheringham recorded his 11th double-double of the season by scoring 13 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Gage Shelmidine with 13 points and 7 assists also was in double figures for San Clemente. Additional Triton scoring came from James Paterson with 7 points, as well as Aidan Butler and Michael Moran with 2 each.
The Trition Varsity concludes the regular season at 7 p.m. Thursday when it hosts Dana Hills on Senior Night. With a victory, San Clemente will be the uncontested, back-to-back league champions and will tie the record for most wins in program history.
One of the win-ningest classes in Triton Bas-ketball history will be honored during special pre-game ceremonies on Thursday. And that will be just the prelude to one of the biggest games in program history when Dana Hills (0-6, 9-16) visits Triton Gym for a 7 p.m. game.
With a win, San Clemente (18-6, 6-1), which has already clinched at least of share of its first back-to-back league championships in program history, will be undisputed champions. The Tritons have now won three of the last four league titles after previously going 35 years without one.
The seniors to be honored are David Breen, Aidan Butler, Jake Cameron, Cole Fotheringham, Dylan Hauser, James Paterson, Gage Shelmidine and Dillon Waikle.
And even before Thursday's big game, San Clemente will play for South County public school bragging rights when it travels to Tesoro on Tuesday. The Titans currently lead the Sea View League.
It should be noted that with wins over both Tesoro and Dana, the Triton Varsity will tie the school record for wins in a season with 20.
Following the season finale, Varsity Head Coach Marc Popovich will give his team a day off while they await next Sunday's announcements of the first-round pairings for the CIF 1AA Playoffs. The Tritons have qualified for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
Another benefit of a victory over Dana Hills would be the high likelihood that as an undisputed league champion San Clemente would be very likely to earn a first-round home game, which would be played in Triton Gym at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The Triton Junior Varsity (4-3, 17-7) needs a win over Dana Hills on Thursday and some help from Mission Viejo and El Toro, if it is to win at least a share of its fifth consecutive league championship.
J.V. Coach Oscar Montecinos says its not out of the question for the league's junior varsity champion(s) to wind up with three losses in what he described as a very evenly matched league.
Friday's hard-fought, double-overtime loss by the Triton Soph at Aliso Niguel, likely means San Clemente (5-2, 13-7) will not be defending its championship in that division. Both of San Clemente's league losses have been to Aliso, both times by just three points.
Both the soph and frosh will host Tesoro and travel to Dana.
Whether it was El Toro's defense or a cold shooting night by the Triton Varsity, the difference between the teams' first league meeting 19 days ago and this one was that San Clemente only scored 56 points, compared to the 70 it put up against the Chargers on January 15. El Toro scored 59, similar to the 57 it had in the earlier game, in sending the Tritons (5-1, 17-6) to their first South Coast League loss of the season and first regular-season home loss in more than two years. San Clemente remains in first place, one game ahead of both El Toro and Aliso Niguel, which it hosts on Friday.
The Tritons shot only 39 percent against El Toro, their worst shooting performance of the season. Despite that, midway through the second quarter it appeared as if San Clemente might be preparing to put that game away, up nine points with possession of the ball. But El Toro closed the gap to 24-21 at the half as part of a 21-6 scoring run that saw the Chargers take control of the game in the third quarter.
El Toro led by as many as 12, and by nine with four minutes left in the game. That's when the Tritons started a late rally that came up short when Gage Shelmdine's desperation attempt at a game-tying three-pointer was off line.
The loss squandered senior James Paterson's season-high of 17 points. Shelmidine with 11 and Cole Fotheringham with 10 also were in double figures Addtional San Clemente scoring came from Jake Cameron, 9; Blake Birmingham, 5; Isaac Rex, 2; and Dillon Waikle 2. Waikle was hampered by foul trouble that saw him spend much of the game on the bench. He fouled out in the fourth period.
El Toro and Aliso Niguel visit Triton Gym this week, standing between the Triton Varsity and historic milestones for the team and its players.
Wins against El Toro (16-7,3-2) on Wednesday and Aliso Niguel (11-11, 3-1) on Friday would give San Clemente the 2016 South Coast League championship, its first back-to-back titles in school history.
And even if the team were to lose to El Toro, a win against Aliso would still give it no worse than a tie for the championship
The games will be played in Triton Gym, where its varsity has not lose a regular-season home game in more than two years.
El Toro was the consensus pre-season pick to win the South Coast League.
And second-place Aliso Niguel has adopted a hard-nosed defensive philosophy since the beginning of league play that has seeen the Wolverines hold everyone except San Clemente to an average of only 38.5 points per game.
San Clemente won 73-55 at Aliso on January 27. It also won 70-57 at El Toro on January 15.
The Tritons have won their five league games to date by double digits, with an average margin of 14.4 points.
A championship also would bring personal milestones to several Triton players. Cole Fotheringham, in his fourth year on the varsity, would become the first player in school history to win three varsity league championships.
In addition, teammates James Paterson, Gage Shelmidine and Dillon Waikle would join an elite group of players who have won two titles at the school.
The Triton Junior Varsity (16-6, 3-2), also in first place and trying to hold on for its fifth-consecutive league title, will be at home against the Chargers and Wolverines.
The sophomore team (12-6, 4-1) remains in pursuit of its own title repeat, but it will have to do so on the road at El Toro and Aliso. San Clemente beat El Toro, 47-44, in their first sophomore meeting. The Tritons, however, lost to Aliso Niguel, 44-41.
So will the Triton Frosh (13-7, 4-1) as it tries to add its own championship to the mix. In their first league meetings, the freshmen beat El Toro, 59-58, but lost to Aliso Niguel, 47-44.
The Triton Frosh B has not previously played Aliso, but it did post a 40-37 victrory over El Toro on January 15. Its games are both away with 7 p.m. tips.
With a 74-56 victory over visiting Mission Viejo, the Triton Varsity moved to 5-0 in league, 17-5 overall, assuring itself of no worse than third place in the South Coast League and guaranteeing a seventh-consecutive CIF Playoff berth. First place San Clemente controls its fate in league with three SCL games remaining, all of them at home, where the team has not lost a regular-season game in more than two years. The Tritons also have remaining a non-league Coast View Conference crossover game at Tesoro.
Against Mission Viejo, the game took on a similar character to the January 13 contest at Mission Viejo in which the Diablos hung with San Clemente for the first half before defensive adjustments helped the Tritons pull away in the second. This time, the game was tied 31-31 at intermission. But the aforementioned adjustments helped San Clemente outscore Mission Viejo 42-25 in the second half.
On a night on which the Tritons' leading league scorer, Cole Fotheringham, was hampered by early foul trouble, Gage Shelmidine with 23 points and Dillon Waikle with 20 led San Clemente scorers. Shelmidine, who usually does his scoring on drives to the basket and free throws, hit an uncharacteristic for him four three-pointers. Waikle made five of them.
Fotheringham wound up with 7 points, while Jake Cameron had 7 and Blake Birmingham 6. James Paterson, Joey Spurgeon and Isaac Rex each contributed 2 points. Overall, the Tritons made 12 three-pointers.
San Clemente returns to South Coast League action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it hosts pre-season favorite El Toro, which currently sits in third place in league.
Two teams with vastly different philosophies sit atop the South Coast League standings as they head for a showdown Wednesday night.
San Clemente (15-5, 3-0) relies on a high-powered offense that averages more than 68 points per game. Aliso Niguel (11-10, 3-0) revamped its defensive approach at the outset of league play and has held opponents to just 38.3 points per game.
The Wolverines beat pre-season league favorite El Toro 58-44 on Friday night. Aliso's defense held the Chargers scoreless for the first seven minutes of that game.
Both teams have posted league victories over Dana Hills, El Toro and Mission Viejo. The San Clemente/Aliso game will mark the midway point of league play, with the Tritons having played all of its games on the road.
Friday night's opponent, Mission Viejo (10-11, 1-3) sits in fourth place in league. Its lone league victory came over last place Dana Hills on Friday. San Clemente posted a 60-48 victory over the Diablos in their league opener on January 13.
On the junior varsity level, San Clemente, which was knocked out of first place in its last league game at El Toro on January 15, finds itself back in a tie for the league lead courtesy of Mission Viejo. The Diablos upended the Chargers in their last league meeting.
But the Tritons (15-5, 2-1) are coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in over two years, and will need to regroup to stay atop the league as they too look forward to playing the entire second half of league at home.
The J.V. posted a 36-33 win at Mission Viejo on January 13 in the first league meeting between the two.
The Triton Soph (11-5, 3-0) and Triton Frosh (12-6, 3-0) are in first place in league as they prepare to host Aliso Niguel on Wednesday. But then, with the opposite schedule of the varsity and J.V., they will have to play the entirety of the second half of league on the road.
The sophomores blew out Friday's opponent, Mission Viejo, by the score of 46-20 in their first league meeting. It took the freshmen an overtime period to pull off a 49-46 win over the Diablos.
The Frosh B will return to action when it travels to Mission Viejo for a 7 p.m. game on Friday. The Bs have five games remaining in the season, four of them will be away games. Their only remaining home game is February 9 against Tesoro.
For one of only a handful of times and at perhaps the earliest point in the season in program history, the Triton Varsity (15-5, 3-0) went to 10 games over the .500 mark with a 70-49 home, non-league win against San Juan Hills.
Last year's league championship squad did not arrive at 10 games over .500 until the second-to-last game of the regular season. The 2012-13 championship team never got there. In addition the 1973-74 Tritons, whose 20-7 record stands as the best in school history, didn't hit the mark until their fourth-to-last game of the regular season. This year's Triton Varsity has six games remaining.
Against San Juan Hills, San Clemente led by double digits from early in the second quarter and steadily pulled away from there. Coach Marc Popovich was able to clear his bench for the final three and a half minutes of the game.
Leading the way for the Tritons were seniors Cole Fotheringham and Gage Shelmidine with 16 points apiece. Fortheringham combined his with 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. He also had five blocked shots. Blake Birmingham and Jake Cameron each contributed 10 points. Dillon Waikle added 6 to go with his game-high seven blocked shots. James Paterson added 5; the trio of Chris Kane, Michael Moran and Roberto Medrano, 2 each; and Dylan Hauser, 1.
The first-place Tritons return to league play at 7 p.m. Wednesday when they travel to Aliso Niguel.
Three Triton Basketball players who also excelled on the gridiron for this year's CIF Finalist Triton Football team were named to the All-CIF Southwest Division First Team. They are senior forward/tight end Cole Fotheringham, junior forward/linebacker Isaac Rex and sophomore guard/defensive back Bryce Wilson.
Fotheringham and Rex play basketball for the Triton Varsity, while Wilson is on the J.V. team. Rex is expected to compete for Fotheringham's tight end spot next football season.
Fresh off a rousing victory over pre-season favorite El Toro to seize control of the race for the South Coast League title, the Triton Varsity (14-5, 3-0) finally returns home after a six-week absence to host San Juan Hills on Thursday.
It is thought to be the longest stretch without a home game for any team in Orange County basketball this season. The 7:30 p.m. game against the Stallions will be part of a special four-game event that has been dubbed "Hoopapalooza."
Teams will celebrate the end of first-semester final exams when the girls' junior varsity team tips off at 3 p.m., followed by the boys' junior varsity at 4:30 p.m. Then the fun really starts with the girls' varsity playing at 6 p.m. The boys' Triton Varsity has a late start at 7:30 p.m.
Hoopapalooza is a product of the boys' game being moved up a day to accommodate the winter formals being held at both schools on Friday. The girls already were scheduled to play on Thursday.
The Triton Frosh will play at San Juan Hills at 4 p.m. Thursday. The sophs and frosh B are off this week because the Stallions do not have teams in those divisions.
Even with finals going on, the Triton Varsity will have one eye on the score from Wednesday's game between El Toro and Aliso Niguel, which is 2-0 in league. San Clemente travels to Aliso on January 27. The Wolverines have victories over Dana Hills and Mission Viejo, which are currently winless in league and tied for last place.
The Aliso game will represent a turning point in the season as the Triton Varsity will have played the entire first half of league play on the road.
It will have the remaining four league games at home, interrupted only by a February 9 non-league game at Tesoro.
The junior varsity (15-4, 2-1) will be looking to get back on the winning track against San Juan Hills after having its hopes for a fifth consecutive league title suffer a setback with a loss at El Toro on Friday.
Remaining unbeaten in league and in first place are the Triton soph (11-5, 3-0) and frosh (11-6, 3-0). The soph is trying to repeat as league champs.
Like the Triton Varsity, the lower division teams will wrap up the first half of South Coast League play on January 27 against Aliso Niguel. The junior varsity will be away, while the freshmen and sophomores will be in the friendly confines of Triton Gym.