Pasadena High School’s trip to Sacramento for a boys basketball tournament last weekend didn’t turn out so good, and that’s putting it lightly.
“It was a nightmare weekend up there,” Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker said. “It really was.”
Pasadena (3-5) went 1-3 in the prestigious St. Hope Elite Nike Classic, its lone win coming against Northern California’s Foothill, 63-39, in the opening round. What followed next is almost unexplainable.
Pasadena went toe-to-toe with Bakersfield, regarded as the best team in Kern County. Pasadena led 61-59 when the unthinkable happened.
“It’s crazy that we lost on a 60-foot bank shot,” Tucker said. Pasadena still advanced to the semifinals against Sacramento. A four-point game with two minutes left in the game and the Bulldogs suddenly check out, losing 87-79.
“There’s two minutes left and we can’t buy a basket down the stretch,” Tucker said.
A defensive break down with the game on the line in the fourth-place game and Pasadena loses to Pleasant Grove, 62-60 after an unguarded layup to win the game.
Pasadena was one of three L.A.-area teams taking part in the tournament along with L.A. Dorsey and Compton High, which didn’t fare any better than the Bulldogs. Tucker said the officiating was suspect at best. He pointed to forward Blake Hamilton, who averaged 23 points in the tournament, getting called for three fouls in the first two minutes of the game against Sacramento.
“It was borderline rediculous what they were calling,” Tucker said. “They were not L.A. friendly.”
Through the nightmareish weekend there still was a bit of good news. For one, center Brandon Jolley, who suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks before the start of the season, made his first appearance on the court and earned an all-tournament selection.
Jolley, a 6-foot-5 junior, did not play in the Rose City Classic where Pasadena made a run to the semifinals against La Verne Lutheran. Still, the Bulldogs managed to play Lutheran close in a 65-53 loss. Lutheran features several Division I-bound athletes as does L.A. Price, whom the Bulldogs lost to, 72-70.
“There’s definitely no panic on this campus,” Tucker said. “We’re definitely the best 3-5 team in the state. If you ask reporters up there they’ll say we’re really good, but we’re a little unlucky right now. I told the kids it’s not a bad thing to drop in the polls because of the teams we lost to.
“We could have easily won the tournament.Nobody has played the schedule we have played. We play the best teams and we don’t run from anybody. I really believe when the dust settles Pasadena will still be around standing.”
Pasadena is off until next week when it heads to San Diego to take part in the Mt. Carmel Tournament.