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.