In the week leading up to the game, three key rotation players, including two starters, missed days of school and practices due to flu symptoms. Two of those players, starters Cade Griffin and Gage Shelmidine, were able to play. But forward Cole Fotheringham was unable to suit up.
Once the tip off occurred, it seemed to take San Clemente a few minutes to adjust to the physical play allowed in the key by the officials. Overall, fewer than a dozen fouls were called for the entire game. And the Tritons trailed 9-8 at the end of the first period, 15-11 three minutes into the second.
That's when a three-pointer by Sam Darnold, followed immediately by a steal and layup by Nick Crankshaw on the inbounds pass gave the Tritons their first lead, one they would never relinquish. San Clemente went on a 9-0 run, upping that to 13-2 before taking a 24-17 lead into the halftime locker room.
Crankshaw was the Tritons leading scorer with 16 points and another of his habitual near triple doubles, adding nine assists and eight rebounds, as well as six steals. Darnold was the only other San Clemente player in double figures with 10 points. He added eight rebounds.
It looked like the Tritons might blow the game open in the first minute of the third period when they scored five quick points to extend the run to 18-2 and the lead to 12. But the Vikings got those points back, then the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the period.
Another 12-4 San Clemente run to open the fourth period put the game away. Downey Coach Larry Shelton waved the white flag with two minutes remaining by clearing his bench with the Tritons leading by 16. Triton Coach Marc Popovich responded in kind, and the five points scored by the Vikings in the final minute made the score closer than the game.
Beside Crankshaw and Darnold, the Tritons got nine-point games from Scott Herrod and Joe Mann, six from Griffin and two each from Shelmidine and Dillon Waikle. Mann had seven rebounds, and Griffin five.