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By Steve Breazeale
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Triton Hoops Eyes Third Straight League Title
If the San Clemente boys basketball team is to wrap up its third consecutive league title this season, they will have to do it the hard way.
The Tritons (17-6, 5-1 league) suffered their first loss in league play, and first loss on their home court in league play in over a year, to El Toro on Feb. 3. Despite outscoring the Chargers 21-17 down the stretch in the fourth quarter, the Tritons could not make up ground.
If they are to win outright, first-place San Clemente will have to win both of its remaining games on the league schedule. San Clemente will host second-place Aliso Niguel (12-11, 3-1) on Feb. 5 and play host to Dana Hills on Feb. 11. San Clemente pulled off convincing wins over both Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills earlier this season.
San Clemente ensured itself a seventh straight trip to the CIF-SS Championships following a 74-56 victory over Mission Viejo on Jan. 29. It was the fifth win for the Tritons in league play, which guaranteed the team at least a third-place finish.
Senior guard Gage Shelmidine scored a game-high 23 points against Mission Viejo. Shelmidine knocked down four 3-pointers in the game and senior Dillon Waikle made five from beyond the arc on his way to scoring 20 points. Waikle also secured 10 rebounds in the win.
Girls Soccer Loses Rematch With Aliso Niguel, Blanks Cougars
The San Clemente girls soccer team lost to visiting Aliso Niguel 2-0 on Jan. 28 in a match that could ultimately decide the South Coast League title.
The first-place Wolverines (13-0-4, 4-0-1) distanced themselves from the second-place Tritons (10-3-7, 3-1-2) with three games remaining on its schedule.
San Clemente kept hold of its second-place standing following a 2-0 shutout of Capistrano Valley on the road on Feb. 2. Sophia Ellis and Kira Nemeth each scored goals for the Tritons in the win.
San Clemente will travel to play Mission Viejo and host Dana Hills on Feb. 4 and Feb. 8, respectively.
Boys Soccer Takes Down Cougars, Tie With Stallions
League title aspirations can change in the blink of an eye in the world of high school sports. For the San Clemente boys soccer team, that rang true on Feb. 3 when the Tritons travelled to play San Juan Hills.
San Clemente jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a goal by Ben Giacobello and held the match in their hands until the final minute of play. In stoppage time, San Juan Hills’ George Kennedy headed home an equalizing goal off a corner kick to pull the Stallions even with the Tritons 1-1 as time expired.
A win would have put San Clemente in the driver’s seat for the South Coast League title. Instead, they will have to scrap their way past Mission Viejo on Feb. 5 if they are to remain in the hunt. The Diablos improved to 3-1-1 in league play following a 2-0 win over Capistrano Valley on Feb. 3. Capo Valley fell to 3-3 in league play.
The Tritons picked up an important win over Capistrano Valley on Jan. 29. Senior Barrett Croft netted home a first-half goal that proved to be enough as the Tritons held on for a 1-0 victory.
Michael Saba assisted Croft on the goal against Capistrano Valley and the Tritons defense clamped down for what was, at the time, a second consecutive shutout of a league opponent.
Chargers Water Polo Edges Tritons in League Showdown
A late flurry of goals pushed the El Toro girls water polo team past San Clemente 9-5 in a South Coast League matchup on Jan. 30. The win wrapped up the league title for El Toro and leaves the Tritons in line to take second place.
El Toro held a slim 5-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but erupted for four goals in the final frame to take the win. Six different players scored goals for El Toro. Amber McCutcheon led the Tritons with two goals and Alaina Cousineau recorded three assists and four steals.
Late Charge Leads Girls Basketball Team to Win
The San Clemente girls basketball team overcame a halftime deficit against Laguna Hills on Feb. 2 en route to a 44-38 South Coast League victory.
San Clemente trailed the Hawks 21-17 at the half and rebounded with a 27-point second-half performance. The Tritons defense held Laguna Hills to just four points in the fourth quarter.
Senior Jessica Perry-Romero led San Clemente with 10 points and junior Amy Harris scored nine. San Clemente junior Emma Borie hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds.