Boys Basketball: PHS wants payback against Muir at 5 p.m. Today; Remember, no presale tickets for tonight’s game. First come, first serve. Expect a sellout by 4 p.m.

There’s nothing to settle in the Pacific League standings, where the Muir High School boys basketball team sits comfortably atop. The Mustangs bring home their first league title in boys basketball after dethroning nine-time league champion and rival Pasadena.
Muir (24-1, 13-0) is the outright champion after beating Crescenta Valley (21-5, 10-3) on Tuesday, meaning all that’s on the line is bragging rights when Muir hosts Pasadena (18-7, 11-2) today at 5 p.m.

Pasadena lost to Muir in the first meeting, 64-61. It’s believed to be the Mustangs’ first win over their rival in league in at least a decade.

Pasadena coach Tim Tucker, in his 17th season at the school, said he can’t remember the last time the Bulldogs were swept by Muir, or Crescenta Valley for that matter, which has handed Pasadena three of its four losses in league during a 10-year span.

Even if there league-placement implications were on the line, it wouldn’t matter because Muir and Pasadena play in different divisions. Muir is No. 9 in Division 4AA, which also includes powerhouse La Verne Lutheran and L.A. Price. Pasadena is No. 2 in Division 3AAA and is considered a favorite to reach the final.

Muir has the upper hand in the Star-News rankings as well. The Mustangs are No. 1 while Pasadena is No. 2. The swap came after Muir’s win a few weeks ago over its rival and marked the first time the Star-News didn’t have Pasadena No. 1 in at least four years. Muir currently is No. 52 in the state. Pasadena is No. 55 and dropped a few spots after losing to Crescenta Valley on a late field goal.
Whatever the case, Pasadena is out to get Muir, especially after watching its rival fans storm its own court.

Pasadena will field the same lineup (Brandon Jolley, Blake Hamilton, Ajon Efferson, Perris Hicks and John Haywood) and has no plans on resting its players with playoffs looming.

“I’m playing to win the game,” Tucker said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Muir’s lone concern is whether 6-foot-5 forward Andre Frazier will play. He sat out Tuesday’s game for precautionary reasons after questions over his eligibility were raised upon his transfer from Bell-Jeff last year.

“I’m hoping that everything will be worked out,” Smalley said.

Pasadena, which will wear the same black uniforms it wore against Crescenta Valley, has one thing on its mind and it’s blatantly clear.

“It’s payback tomorrow,” Tucker said.

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  • nothing vested

    Muir is going to win this game. They are just a better team this year. Both teams have talent, however Muir is playing together, and they have all year. It’s no fluke they are undefeated in league. The pressure is going to be on PHS in this one. A lot of money is going to be lost on bets in Pasadena. This is a rivalry game, and Phs is capable of being the spoilers.

    Pick: Muir 57 PHS 53

  • Question

    Miguel and Stang03-

    I knew I’d finally find it. I just had to do a little research in the Star-News archives. The last time Muir swept PHS in league was actually 8 years ago in 2004. Muir finished 7-3 in league and PHS was 4-6. Not sure who won league but Muir may have tied with Arcadia or CV that year. PHS then went on a great run and won 7 consecutive Pacific League titles (not 9) from 2005-2011, until Muir won it this year.

    Without Frazier I don’t think Muir beats PHS today but it will still be a great game. Good luck to both schools.

    Below you will find the information from 2004, which was that Muir team that lost to Arron Afflalo and Compton Centennial in the CIF semifinals.


    Pasadena Star-News (CA)

    January 23, 2004
    Section: Prep Sports

    Muir erases a 15 point deficit

    Author: Fred J. Robledo , Staff Writer

    Muir High School boys basketball coach Major Whitlock said he scouted rival Pasadena and felt he had a pretty good game plan.

    But as the first-year coach learned during his first experience with the gritty Bulldogs, none of it really matters after the opening tip.

    In what resembled a football game at times, the Mustangs rallied from a 15-point, first-half deficit to pull out a thrilling 55-53 victory at Muir on Friday.

    After losing a season sweep to PHS last year, Whitlock made a lot of alumni happy in the process.

    “That was something. I hope they’re all like this,’ Whitlock said afterward. “Scouting is useless when these teams play. I know that now.

    “What you see in other games is going to fool you because the intensity doubled, and they went at each other.’

    PHS led 47-41 with 6:30 remaining, but the Mustangs went on a 9-0 run to take a 50-47 lead with 3:34 left.

    The Bulldogs took the lead right back on a running jumper by Travon Harmon and two free throws by Kyle Austin to go up 53-50 with 1:46 left.

    But Muir’s Gerrell Finney, who finished with 15 points, hit a game- tying 3-pointer to tie it 53-53 with 1:06 remaining.

    Finney and Alex Finley each hit one of two free throws to push the Mustangs lead to 55-53, but the Bulldogs had a final opportunity to send it to overtime.

    After Harmon missed a winning three-point attempt with 11 seconds left, the Bulldogs crashed the boards, and missed four put-back chances as time expired.

    “You can’t miss four straight put- backs,’ Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker said. “But the difference was the free throw shooting.’

    Muir was 21 of 37 at the foul line; Pasadena was 14 of 22.

    In the second half, Muir had 15 free throws to PHS’s three.

    “Take nothing away from Muir because they played hard,’ Tucker said, “but we lost the game because they took 30-plus foul shots.

    “We couldn’t get a call down the stretch. I saw things down there I just couldn’t understand. But that’s San Gabriel Valley officiating. It’s not balanced.’

    Miles Nolan also finished with 15 points for the Bulldogs, and PHS’s Kyle Austin led everyone with 22 points.

    For Muir (10-10, 3-2), the victory means it remains in the hunt for the Pacific League title; the two-time defending champion Bulldogs (8-11, 1-4) will have to rally the second half of the season to earn a playoff berth.

    “It’s a big win, and we need every one from here on out,’ Whitlock said. “If we lost this game, our season wouldn’t have been over, but psychologically, I think it would have harmed us because we’re a young team.’

    For Tucker, it was another opportunity lost.

    “We’re struggling,’ he said. “We don’t have one starter on the team that has any experience from last year. But I can’t take anything away from my guys. They’re playing hard. That’s all I can ask.’

    In today’s McDonald’s Classic at La Canada High, PHS will face unbeaten Glendora (4:15 p.m.), and Muir will face crosstown rival Marshall (6 p.m.).

    In the late game, La Canada will face Crescenta Valley (8 p.m.) — Fred J. Robledo can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 4485, or by e-mail at .

    (c) 2004 Pasadena Star-News. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
    Record Number: 1911594


    San Gabriel Valley Tribune (West Covina, CA)

    February 13, 2004
    Section: None Specified


    Muir 62, Pasadena 51

    MUIR (62)

    Gerrell Finney 12, Alex Finley 10, Charles Carter 2, Wendell Jackson 2, Miles Nolan 14, Eric Hudson 6, Forrest Elder 2, LJ Wilkerson 2, Sam Brunston 2, Branden Lenard 8, Rico Henderson 2.

    PASADENA (51)

    Kwinton Fulbright 8, Travon Harmon 3, Artis Gant 15, Kyle Austin 5, Dwytt Knowles 10, Kendon Young 8, Jamal Meyers 2. Muir11121821 62 Pasadena8101320 51 Records (overall, league): Pasadena 11-14, 4-6; Muir 15-11, 7-3

    Crescenta Valley 50, Arcadia 43


    Bandari 13, Oliver 9, Aposhan 14, Garcia 14.

    ARCADIA (43)

    Dan Alexander 25, John Miles 7, Greg Garcia 7, Kevin Wang 2, Tegas Gala 2. Crescenta Valley15121211 50 Arcadia1810114 43 Records (overall, league): Crescenta Valley 9-1; Arcadia 12-15, 5-5.

    (c) 2004 San Gabriel Valley Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
    Record Number: 1953627

  • Good luck, Mustangs and Bulldogs!

    Bulldogs: Defense will be the key to victory – open your mouth and let your teammates know where the cuts are and ASK for help. Don’t wait for Coach Tucker to tell you that man to man is not working – if you know it’s not – TELL HIM. Keep one simple rule in mind “Keep your hands up!” Give up no easy looks or baskets tonight – none!

    Mustangs: Don’t slow down your offense – you’re taking to long to set up your plays; my bulldogs will be expecting it. Guards – make it a point to feed the ball down low, and make yourself available after a rebound i.e. “GO GET THE BALL” and run your offense.

    I won’t say who I want to win, but I’ve been known to be a barker…

    See ya, tonight.

    P.S. Why no preadvanced ticket sells? Who made that decision? I can just read the headlines tomorrow i.e. “Pandemonium erupts after hundreds turned away from Muir/PHS game.” – That’s a problem waiting to happen.

    Laurence Todd

  • Philly B

    Nice video Miguel, way to hype it up and make it DRAMATIC. Loving the coverage.