BOYS BASKETBALL: Bulldogs peaking at the right time

Pasadena’s boys basketball team is beginning to hit its stride.

Questions: Could Keion Bell be a lock for Player of the Year? Will Pasadena repeat as Division champions?

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Pasadena’s Keion Bell (3) drives to the basket in the first half During Pasadena’s win over Crescenta Valley. (Keith Birmingham/Staff Photographer)


Bulldogs’ Bell rings loudest
Team leader scores 35 in win over CV

By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Pasadena High School might not possess the Victory Bell, awarded to the winner of the annual Turkey Tussle football game between the Bulldogs and Muir.
But a Bell was ringing loudly for the Bulldogs’ basketball team Friday night, much to the chagrin of visiting Crescenta Valley.
Senior guard Keion Bell was a one-man wrecking crew in the Bulldogs’ 84-66 victory at Hamilton Gymnasium.
Bell poured in 14 first-quarter points and finished the night with a game-high 35 as the Bulldogs (17-5, 9-1) collected their sixth consecutive victory to edge closer to the Pacific League title.
“We’re riding the way he rides,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said. “When he comes to play, we play.”
Bell’s running two-handed slam dunk with 3:09 to play put an exclamation point on an emphatic performance.
“Coach Tucker is always telling me that we’re going to go as far as I take them, and at first, I didn’t know what he was talking about,” said Bell, who also had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. “But I realize the more I play harder, the more the people around me play harder, and that’s what you get as a leader.”
Pasadena got a season series sweep against Crescenta Valley (14-8, 6-4). The Bulldogs defeated the Falcons 57-51 on Jan. 7.
It was a different story this time.
“There, they had about 600 people and it felt like they were right in your face. But here, we knew what they were capable of doing and we were prepared, and that’s how you get the 20-point lead.”
Many other Bulldogs joined in the scoring parade.
Marcus Harvey scored 16 points and had eight rebounds. Steven Adams collected 11 points and eight rebounds; Joseph Hanson and George Toyama had eight points apiece.
“We said that when we got Henson and some other players back in late January and early February, we’d be hitting our stride, and it looks like we’re starting to hit our stride a little bit,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said.
Said Bell: “We’ve been going to practice 100 percent, and a lot our younger players like Steven Adams are stepping up and we’ve been getting balanced scoring, which makes it easier for us to win games.”
Crescenta Valley (14-8, 6-4) took an early 2-0 lead.
Bell, though, set the early tone when he stole a pass and threw down a slam dunk.
He single-handedly engineered a string of eight unanswered points and the Bulldogs led 26-14 after one quarter.
The Falcons outscored Pasadena 17-15 in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs owned a 41-31 halftime advantage.
“Their whole thing was about shooting 3s, so we knew that it was going to be desperation for them, and once we got the ball, if we were precise, there was no way they could keep up with us,” Bell said. “We’re peaking right before the playoffs and we’re trying to go right back to (Honda Center).
“We are so focused right now, I feel sorry for any team that tries to come in here and beat us.”
Adam’s bucket off his own rebound gave Pasadena a 64-42 lead late in the third quarter.
Crescenta Valley didn’t get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
“CV is a great team with great shooters, but I thought we got off to a fast start the way I wanted to,” Tucker said. “It set the tone defensively, and we got the job done.”
Eric Strangis led the Falcons with 16 points. Alan Bagatourin had 13, and Clayton Sierra scored 10.
The Bulldogs will return to action Tuesday when they travel to Glendale.