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San Clemente adds another highlight to its season

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

DANA POINT — If San Clemente plays in the boys basketball playoffs like it did in the first half Thursday night, it won’t beat anybody.

If it plays like it did in the second half, it could do some damage.

After trailing by five at halftime, San Clemente torched Dana Hills in the second half and tied a program record with 20 wins by beating the Dolphins, 59-46, on the team's senior night.

The Tritons (20-6, 7-1) claimed sole possession of the South Coast League title and have been league champs in three of the last four seasons.

“Three in four years for a school that won one in 47 years, that’s a huge accomplishment for us,” San Clemente coach Marc Popovich said. “I’m so proud of our guys and for everybody that’s been a part of this.”

Before the game Popovich doled out eight massive bear hugs to his eight graduating seniors.

One senior, Cole Fotherington, has played varsity all four years. He’s the first player to win three league championships in the program’s 50-year history.

The Utah football signee missed most of the first half with foul trouble but scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to lead the second-half surge.

“(My success here will) probably dawn on me when I’m a 35-year-old,” Fotherington said postgame with a laugh, “when I’m coming back and I see all the league championships (on the wall).”

For now, Fotherington and his teammates only look forward to Sunday, when they’ll find out their seed in the CIF-SS 1AA playoffs.

If they win their first playoff game, the Tritons will break the school’s record for most wins in a season with 21.

“Hopefully (our legacy) is cemented in the next couple weeks,” Popovich said. “ … The next step is doing something big in the playoffs.”

Dana Hills, two years removed from back-to-back 20-win seasons, finished the season 9-18 and 0-8 in league play.


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