Little did the tournament organizers or the Triton Frosh know that the one game would be the difference between them tying for the best season record of any team in Triton Basketball history instead of earning the nonetheless lofty best freshman team record in Triton Basketball history.
But that's what happened as the 2013-14 frosh went on to post a 24-1 record and become the only Triton freshman team to win an undefeated league championship. The 2012-13 Triton Junior Varsity at 25-1 still has the record for best season by any Triton Basketball team.
This year's frosh accomplishment probably seemed even more unlikely when the team was down by 27 late in the third quarter of its second game of the season versus Woodbridge. They would close to within three before suffering their only loss of the year. And only four days later they would avenge that loss in double overtime.
That win was the second of a school record 23 straight the Triton Frosh would put up the remainder of the season.
En route, San Clemente would win championships at the Laguna Hills and Capistrano Valley tournaments. It was the second consecutive year that the Triton Frosh won the Capo Valley title.
With few exceptions, the games were not close, as the Tritons scored an average of 55.76 points per game to their opponents' 39.32 points per game, a margin of 16.44 points.
But it did get tougher as teams learned how to game plan for the Tritons. The first time through league, the team won its games by an average of more than 27 points. But the second time through San Clemente's well-prepared opponents cut the average margin to just over nine points. In fact, Dana Hills and Trabuco Hills both came within four points of the Tritons in their second league encounters.
When the games got close, Head Coach Oscar Montecinos leaned heavily on his Co-MVPS, guards Blake Birmingham and Joey Spurgeon. "These guys didn't play like freshmen," Montecinos said. "They played with lots of poise when the games got close, and they absolutely refused to let the team lose."
One of the players Coach Montecinos turned to for a scoring punch was Isaac Rex, whom he called "possibly the best pure shooter I've
seen as long as I've been coaching." Rex was named offensive player of the year for the freshman squad.
On defense, a player who was not a big part of the early-season rotation stepped up as the year progressed. Roberto Medrano worked his way into the starting lineup by season's end and was named the team's defensive player of the year. "Roberto embraced everything we wanted as a team on defense and became a very big factor in our success," said Coach Montecinos.
Forward James VanGinkel and Ricardo Ashe were the other fixtures in San Clemente's starting lineup. Chris DeGrazia also saw his fair share of starts for the Tritons.
The class of 2017 was exceptionally
deep. Two players, Brandon Reaves and Marcus Wilson, were moved up to the junior varsity squad before the season began. Still, there were 24 players on the frosh squad, which allowed for it to have a very competitive 'B' team.
The 'B' team posted a 9-4 record, including wins in six of its last seven games. The lone loss during that span was by one point in overtime at Dana Hills. It should be noted the Tritons avenged that loss 10 days later in a 46-42 victory.