San Clemente claims first title in 38 years


SAN CLEMENTE – Going into this season, the San Clemente boys basketball team hadn't won a league title since 1975 - a year when a gallon of gas in California cost nearly 59 cents and Gerald Ford was president of the United States.

The long, 38-year wait is over for the Tritons.

Led by Jimmy Bankson, Sam Darnold and Cody Bean, San Clemente defeated Trabuco Hills, 63-44, to capcture the Sea View League on Senior Night at San Clemente.

“It’s a big monkey off our back as a program,” Tritons coach Marc Popovich said. “We’ve worked so hard all year long for this moment and these kids deserve it. It’s the most satisfying moment of my career.”

Bankson (13 points) and Bean (10 points) helped the Tritons (17-10, 7-1) take control of the game against the Mustangs (13-10, 5-3) from opening tip. San Clemente stormed out to an 8-0 lead and didn’t trail at any point of the game.

Bean set the table for the Tritons offensively in the first half as he dished out four assists, while Darnold, who scored 10 points, helped control the glass with seven rebounds.

Craig Magyar (11 points, seven rebounds) helped Trabuco Hills stay within a respectable margin at halftime with his offense and multiple blocks. Brandon Fagins was a force on the glass for the Mustangs with 10 rebounds and he also swatted two shots.

For Popovich, now that his team has met one goal, it’s time to check another off the list.

“We knocked league off, now we have to make a run in the playoffs,” Popovich said. “That’s the next thing for us. We just want to have a nice deep run, we’ve earned it and we want to go have some fun.”

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