Star-News staff photos by Sarah Reingewirtz
By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer
PASADENA – Shock, dejection, disbelief.
Those were the feelings the Muir High School boys basketball team inflicted on crosstown rival Pasadena in a game that did more than send a ripple effect throughout the Pacific League.
It sent shock waves.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Mustangs on Friday night gave the Bulldogs a taste of their own medicine, hitting clutch free throws in waning seconds while an experienced team collapsed.
When the final seconds ticked off the clock, Muir players were joined by a throng of fans and let out a roar to solidify a contentious 64-60 win in front of an overflow crowd that descended upon Pasadena High hours before tipoff.
Muir (18-1, 7-0) handed Pasadena (13-6, 6-1) only its third loss during its nine-year reign as league champion, previously losing twice to Crescenta Valley. Muir coach Gamal Smalley, in his third season at the helm and a 1976 graduate, couldn’t remember the last time Muir beat its bitter rival.
In playoff-like atmosphere where more than several hundred fans were shunned outside during halftime of the girls’ afternoon game, Muir survived woeful free-throw shooting in the third and fourth quarters and having its two most physical players in Andre Frazier and Taturs Mayberry foul out in critical moments of the game.
Muir’s Jelani Mitchell, Deon Nelson, Michael Cockrell and Tevin Polk, who was nothing short of brilliant with 16 points off the bench, carried the Mustangs with key baskets, steals and free throws.
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