Muir moved on in the state tournament. Can the Mustangs march all the way to Sacramento?
Next up for the Mustangs, a home game against Mount Miguel on Thursday at 7 p.m.
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Perhaps the layoff was too long.
Muir High School’s girls basketball team did not look particularly sharp in Tuesday night’s CIF State Division III first-round playoff game against visiting Yosemite. But it did not matter, as the Mustangs put away the pesky Badgers, 49-35.
Muir will play again Thursday in the Southern California Regional semifinals against Mount Niguel, a 55-40 winner over Laguna Hills.
The 27-2 Mustangs, the top-rated team in the division, led comfortably all the way. But the Central Section Division III champions kept it reasonably close, trailing only 40-28, until Eliza Pierre stole the ball, was fouled while scoring on a layup and then converted the three-point play with 6:19 left. It started a 9-3 run that put the game firmly in the Mustangs’ hands.
“It was just a matter of time,” Muir coach Gary Johnson said. “It was ugly, but we got the win.”
The game was one of turnovers. The Mustangs’ aggressive full-court press forced Yosemite (20-9) into 30 turnovers, 18 in the first half.
“We passed to our girls, but their players were right there,” Yosemite coach Gary Blate said. “They are very athletic; we don’t see teams like this in the Central Valley. They just got at us.”
But it wasn’t just the Badgers who were committing turnovers. The Mustangs had nine turnovers in the second and fourth quarters and 21 for the game.
“We had so many turnovers,” Johnson said.
When the Mustangs weren’t turning the ball over, they were finding the lanes to the basket. Pierre had a game-high 18 points. If she didn’t score, she was going inside to Brittany Henderson, who had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.