Those hopes were challenged early on as two players from the pre-season roster, junior Joe Mann and Vince Smetona, were called up to the varsity. Then, only five games into the season, the team's starting point guard, James Paterson, went down with a hip injury that kept him out of action.
Nonetheless, the team found a way to a 19-win season, the championship of the El Toro Tournament and, most importantly, a share of its third-consecutive league title.
Even after Paterson went down, the Tritons managed to keep their early season momentum going. But then they hit a rough patch from December 30 to January 22, losing five of seven games. Unfortunately for San Clemente, part of this timeframe corresponded with the beginning of Sea View League play, and the Tritons fell to 1-2 after three league games.
Then San Clemente got its mojo back, winning its final six games. This included a non-league victory at Tesoro and one-point league wins on the road at Dana Hills and Trabuco Hills. All three of these avenged earlier losses for the 19-7 Tritons, who wound up tied with Dana and Trabuco for the league crown.
The late season re-energization of the team came roughly at the same time as the emergence of freshman center/forward Marcus Wilson as a force. He earned the team's most-improved player award.
But holding the team together throughout were their other three award winners: sophomore forward Daniel Klevit, defensive player of the year; junior guard Tyler Voigt, offensive player of the year; and junior guard Jake Russell, Coaches' Award. It was Russell who had to move over from the shooting guard spot to run the offense when Paterson went down early in the season.
It's definitely worth noting that Paterson, a sophomore, has as of this date been cleared by doctors to return to the court. He is participating in spring club team games, and is expected to be at full strength for next basketball season.