Pasadena basketball Spight(s) Muir
Crosstown rivalry game goes to Pasadena Bulldogs, who ride hot hand of senior forward.
Pasadena's senior forward Raymond Jackson contributed 10 points and 5 rebounds to help the Bulldogs defeat rival Muir. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer / January 18, 2013)
While Spight was a newcomer to the bi-annual Crown City classic, he fit right in, as the senior responded to the screams by delivering a truly dominant effort in hitting five-of-eight three-pointers and finishing with a game-high 29 points and five rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 69-49 Pacific League victory Friday night.
“It felt real good to hit some of those threes in front of the crowd,” said Spight, who has verbally committed to the University of Texas at El Paso. “I have never played in a Pasadena-Muir game my whole life and I just wanted to show a little of what I could do.”
Two days after a loss to Crescenta Valley (16-4, 7-0) dropped 10-time defending league champion Pasadena (13-5 overall, 6-1 in league) out of first place, the Bulldogs were in greatest danger of losing a second straight game midway through the fourth.
Muir (12-9, 5-2) trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to five points on a jumper from the key from senior forward Taturs Mayberry (13 points and nine rebounds) with 4:50 remaining.
Pasadena tried to take momentum back on the next series of plays when senior forward Raymond Jackson (10 points and five rebounds) connected on a free throw 13 seconds later and then Bulldogs guard Jeffrey McClendon came up with a steal of Mustangs guard Evan Bynum, a Marshall Fundamental transfer.
Yet, Bynum responded to the pick-pocketing with his own steal and then threw the ball the length of the court to a wide-open and streaking Mayberry, who appeared to be caught between deciding to dunk or lay the ball up and had his dunk attempt ricochet of the rim back to Pasadena.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the gift when Spight drained a three-pointer the other way with 3:50 remaining, which put Pasadena up, 50-41.
“Momentum changed. It’s as simple as that,” Pasadena Coach Tim Tucker said. “If they make the layup, they’re going to be down four or something like and they have all the momentum in the world.”
Spight’s three-pointer was the launching point for the Bulldogs’ 11-2 run that included five points from Spight and was capped by his two free throws with 1:59 to go that put Pasadena ahead, 58-43.
“We had to stay attached to him and guard him in a phone booth and we didn’t do that,” Muir Coach Simaine Stewart said of his team’s defense of Spight. “We were in the game, but missed some easy shots and Pasadena made their shots. Then we fouled at the end, which made the score lopsided.”
Despite being down 15 with less than two minutes left, the Mustangs continued to foul until 11 seconds remained. Pasadena was clutch down the stretch, hitting nine of 10 free throws.
The contest didn’t start well for Muir, as Pasadena led, 15-9, after one quarter, thanks to six points from senior center Brandon Jolley (17 points and seven rebounds), and eventually led, 26-11, with 3:41 remaining after a pair of free throws from Jolley.
The Mustangs did fight back, led by senior guard Jelani Mitchell (16 points) and Dejon Williams (14 points and seven rebounds), eventually climbing within 40-36 with 7:28 remaining in the fourth after a slashing layup from Williams.
“I don’t know if there was a turning point, but they were able to shoot wide-open threes,” Williams said. “That was the difference.”