The 6-foot-4 sophomore was a menace Friday afternoon, finishing with 12 points, 21 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the Mustangs’ 39-35 Pacific League home victory Friday afternoon versus crosstown rival Pasadena.
Muir (7-8 overall, 2-5 in league) snapped a three-game losing streak with the win in what may very well have been the final rivalry home game for coach Gary Johnson, who announced earlier this week he was stepping down after the season.
Johnson’s Mustangs responded by stepping up and taking a 38-28 lead when sophomore guard Arie Johnson connected on a five-footer with 5:21 left in the game created off a Bulldogs’ turnover.
Despite committing eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, Pasadena (4-12, 2-5) battled back with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Ashtyn Salazar with 3:41 remaining that brought the Bulldogs within five.
Salazar’s bucket was followed by two turnovers from the Bulldogs and a blocked shot by Fluker and three turnovers from the Mustangs as both teams struggled to score.
Dariel Johnson attempted to go inside with under 30 seconds remaining when she was swatted by Fluker for what was Fluker’s final block with 20 seconds left.
The ball was smacked out of bounds and allowed Pasadena a chance to pull within a possession when Dariel Johnson connected on a running jumper with 10 seconds left to cut the lead to 38-35.
Muir’s Arie Johnson was immediately fouled with sevens seconds left and missed both free throws.
Unfortunately for Pasadena, her second miss was rebounded by teammate Chy’Annea Hodges, who then passed back to Arie Johnson, who was fouled with four seconds remaining.
While there was a little drama after Arie Johnson missed her first free throw, the sophomore guard put the game away when she hit her second attempt.
“We needed this win for the second half of the season,” Fluker said. “I think we know that we can win.”
Fluker’s scoring helped Muir increase a 22-18 halftime advantage, as she chipped in five points, including a sequence when she rebounded her own miss three times before scoring with 4:41 left to push Muir ahead, 27-19.
Fluker eventually put the Mustangs up double digits when she laid the ball in with a second left thanks a slashing assist from Hope Peron.
Pasadena initially started off strong, scoring 11 of the game’s first 13 points and eventually taking a 15-11 advantage after one quarter behind four points from Dariel Johnson, who led all players with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Muir fell behind, 18-12, early in the second quarter before rallying with a 10-0 run to close the quarter, fueled by five points from Tierra Adams, who tallied a team-high 13 points.
“It’s not a discredit to Muir, but we gave them way too many free opportunities,” Pasadena Coach Wil White said. “There was just unforced turnovers and we didn’t make our presence in the paint.
“Even against their big girl Fluker, we didn’t make her run. She had everything come to her.”