GIRLS BASKETBALL: A wasted opportunity

Mira Costa defeats Muir girls in semis

An interesting side note: Mira Costa’s Kali Hamilton is the granddaughter of Tom Hamilton, who Pasadena’s gymnasium is named after.

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Above: Muir’s Cherrish Wallace drives to the basket against Mira Costa in the CIF-SS Division I-A semifinals at Pasadena High. (Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham.)

By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer

PASADENA – It was the opportunity that basketball players dream of, a chance to advance to play for a championship.
Muir High School’s girls basketball team had that opportunity when it hosted Mira Costa in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A semifinals Tuesday at Pasadena’s Hamilton Gymnasium in a battle of Mustangs.
But with her dad, former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros watching from the stands, Mira Costa senior forward Mikah Maly-Karros was a one-person wrecking machine.
She almost single-handedly wrecked the Mustangs’ dreams in a 49-44 victory.
The 6-foot-1 senior scored a game-high 27 points and almost was unstoppable in ending Muir’s season a game short of its goal.
“I had a lot of help from my teammates,” Maly-Karros said. “They did all the little things, and they set me up perfectly so I could score. It was really a great team effort.”
After playing from behind for much of the night, Muir (26-2) took a 44-43 lead on a pair of free throws by Brittany Henderson with 1:33 to play in the game.
But Megan Richardson gave Mira Costa (25-5) the lead for good with a pair of free throws just moments later.
With the pressure mounting, Muir appeared flustered and forced some shots.
“We didn’t execute at the end, but we’re just thankful that we had a good season and our seniors are going on to college to play,” said Henderson, who scored 12 points.
Richardson, who finished with 10 points, later iced the game with a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left.
The night still belonged to Maly-Karros.
She collected eight first-quarter points as Mira Costa led by as many as eight before grabbing a 12-6 advantage after one quarter.
Maly-Karros continued to carry the Mustangs on her back as she scored 17 points in the opening 16 minutes to send Mira Costa to the locker room leading 27-23 at the half.
“They’re a great team and we had a ton of respect for them, so we knew that we really had to come out and give it our best game or else we would’ve lost,” Maly-Karros said.
University of Baylor-bound Cherrish Wallace led Muir with 13 points.
“The girls worked hard,” Muir coach Gary Johnson said. “We had some turnovers in the last minute or so that crushed us.”
Free throws didn’t help the Muir either.
Muir was 5-for-9 from the line while Mira Costa went 11-for-17.