Pasadena boys' hoops beats Muir again
Pasadena Bulldogs win their 18th straight rivalry contest versus Muir Mustangs in Pacific League season finale on Thursday.
Pasadena's Andre Spight fights for the ball with Muir's Taturs Maberry. Spight scored 17 points for the Bulldogs. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer / February 7, 2013)
Yet, pride proved enough motive for the Bulldogs, who won their 18th straight contest versus the visiting Mustangs after a 62-53 victory at Hamilton Gymnasium.
With the victory, CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA 12th-ranked Pasadena (20-5 overall, 13-1 in league) became the area’s third team to reach 20 victories, joining Maranatha and Crescenta Valley. As for Division IV-AA 13th-ranked Muir (16-12, 9-5), the Mustangs finished third in the Pacific League and, like Pasadena, will await Sunday’s Southern Section pairings release.
“One thing about this game is that if you have a game plan, you really throw it out the window,” Pasadena Coach Tim Tucker said. “The kids are going to do what they’re going to do and there’s a lot of talking going on there. There’s a lot of neighborhood talk and barbershop talk and they just play. You just hope that your team has more runs and the last run and that’s what we had.”
Both teams traded the lead in the first and second quarters, while Pasadena held a slim two-point advantage after Muir’s Jamir Jenkins drained a three-pointer with 59 seconds left in the third quarter to bring the Mustangs within 37-35.
A subsequent three-pointer from Bulldogs senior forward Andre Spight (17 points) was followed by a jumper from Mustangs senior guard Jelani Mitchell, which left the Bulldogs ahead, 40-37.
From the Mitchell field goal, Pasadena launched into a pivotal 9-2 run that began with a jumper from senior guard Perris Hicks, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, before the close of the quarter.
The run was eventually capped by an inside basket from senior forward Brandon Jolley with 5:34 remaining in the game that put Pasadena ahead, 49-39.
“Every time we got close, we couldn’t make that key stop to tie the game,” Mustangs Coach Simaine Stewart said. “They had a big run to answer our run and we couldn’t get ahead.”
Down 10, the Mustangs answered with a free throw from Mitchell (game-high 18 points) that preceded a slashing layup for forward Taturs Mayberry (14 points and three blocks) within a 24-second span that brought the Mustangs within seven points.
Yet, Pasadena bounced back with an acrobatic jumper from Spight to go back up nine, while never allowing to Mustangs to pull any closer than seven points the rest of the game.
“It felt good to win again. It was different that this game was in our house, but we got it done,” said Spight, who was again serenaded with chants of “overrated” from the Muir faithful. “While we already won, this was still a big game for us. We still have to win for our crowd.”
A 23-20 lead for Muir at the half did not last as the Bulldogs took the lead for good thanks to a 14-0 run to open the fourth quarter, fueled by nine points from Hicks, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The run was capped on a turnaround jumper from Jolley in which Pasadena led, 34-23, with 3:01 left in the third.
To its credit, Muir answered back with a 9-0 spurt in which Mitchell pulled the Mustangs within 34-32 on a pair of free throws with 1:21 remaining in the third.