Rivalry: Pasadena dominates Muir, 71-53, to wrap up season finale. Video highlights and reaction from Pasadena’s Tim Tucker and Muir’s Gamal Smalley.


By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer

PASADENA — Too much has been made of the fact the Pasadena High School boys basketball team was dethroned as nine-time Pacific League champions this year.

That it came at the hands of crosstown rival Muir only amplified the so-called concern over the state of the Bulldogs’ program.

But Pasadena wanted it to be known whose town this still belongs to, and why the Bulldogs are considered the area’s prominent basketball school.

Pasadena delivered its message in emphatic fashion, closing out the regular season with a dominating 71-53 win to close out the regular season in front of a standing-room only crowd Thursday night.

There was no denying who wanted this win more, and Pasadena (19-7, 12-2) clearly sent a message by stifiling Muir (23-2, 12-1) with its staple defense. The offense would soon follow, as the Bulldogs shot 10 of 15 in the first quarter alone. That kind of momentum allowed Pasadena to increase its lead to as many as 21 in the third quarter, and soon Muir began feeling the effects of a hungry Bulldogs team that was seeking vengeance after losing the first meeting, 64-61.


Pasadena was dominant throughout, led by forward Brandon Jolley who was virtually unstoppable inside. The 6-foot-5 junior finished with a game-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks. H shot 12 of 21 from the floor and his teammates followed suit.

Blake Hamilton recorded three thunderous dunks to finish with 12 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists. John Haywood finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three assists. Perris Hicks also had a solid game with 12 points, three steals and two blocks. Ajon Efferson, a sophomore point guard, is looking to grow into his role, finishing with eight points, three assists and two rebounds with a block and a steal.

Pasadena opened the quarter on an 8-0 run and led 26-9 before Muir finally went on a run, albeit modest. The Mustangs had an 8-0 run in the first quarter that barely left a dent.

It didn’t help that Muir was outrebounded (38-31) and committed more turnovers (15 to 10). Pasadena also dished out more assists, 13-4.

Pasadena shot 45 percent (27 of 60 from the floor while Muir struggled throughout, shooting 17 of 45 from the floor. Jelani Mitchell and Dion Nelson tried helping the Mustangs stay on pace, each scoring 13 points. Brian Carrier (3 points, 10 rebounds) started in place of 6-5 forward Andre Frazier, who sat out his second consecutive game because of concerns raised over his eligibility. He sat out Tuesday’s game against Crescenta Valley when the Mustangs clinched the school’s first league title in over a decade. Muir coach Gamal Samlley said they are keeping him out for precautionary reasons and that the school should know by today if he’s OK to play. the CIF-Southern Section has not ruled him ineligible, but Muir officials are keeping him out to be cautious.

Frazier’s presence was severely missed. As Jolley muscled his way into the basket it opened up the inside game for the rest of the team, too.

Pasadena wanted to assure the CIF committee that it earned a No. 2 seed in Division 3AAA when the brackets are released on Sunday. The Bulldogs two losses in league this season came by a combined five points, and five of its seven losses have come to teams ranked top 50 in the state.

“We thought we left something on the court (in the last meeting,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said. “We knew we wer emuch better than we played last time and we wanted some momentum going into CIF. We want CIF to know how good we are and believe we have a big run ahead of us.”

Pasadena wanted its message to be clear, that two losses in league and not ending as a 10-time league champion doesn’t mean the Bulldogs talent has gone down. On the contrary.

“There’s a lot of talk in this town,” Tucker said. “And Jolley felt there was too much talk going on, too. People got it confused that we’re the second team in the city. We’re not the second best etam in the city. We know how good we are. Jolley knows how good he is. We just came out here and proved it.

“I congratulate Muir on a good season and a league championship, but we got nine in a row. We know how good we are.”

Muir, currently No. 5 in Division 4AA, started three seniors who are not regular starters because it was senior night. By the time Mitchell, Carrier and Taturs Mayberry entered the game Pasadena had already taken the early momentum.

Muir’s trapping defense went missing, and the Mustangs’ trademark play of building runs came only in the first quarte.r Muir isused to dictating the pace, but just couldn’t make it happen.

“They went at us and stopped our sideline breaks a little bit,” Smalley said. “We just didn’t cur the counters. Once Muir starts to slow and walk a game then you see other teams have advantages.”

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  • Anonymous

    To all muir parents, players and fans PLEASE, I REPEAT PLEASE DO NOT COME ON HERE WITH EXCUSES!!!@##$$%%^ Pasadena was going to win this game no matter what But i must say Muir is an awesome team and on some real S#!% Smalley embarrassed his self and the team by not even trying to win the game “NEWS FLASH” Smalley this is a rival game you bring everything you got. anytime you get a chance to sweep Pasadena you take it, believe me Pasadena didnt lay down not one year when they had the pacific league title wrapped up when it came to muir. A sweep would had looked much better than just the pacific league title now thank C.V for basically helping you guys get it. Smalley you just made history you laid down and your team was upset at you and got embarrassed on their home court you didnt even try to protect your house.

  • Pasadena Dawgs own two houses

    Revenge is sweeeeet. He who laughs last laughs best. Muir was overhyped by Miguel as usual. He breaks almost all the principles of journalism by showing who he is partial to. But to the Bulldawg faithfull we knew who was better and not some shoty ranking by Miguel was going to change that. Pasadena is number one tittle or not. Tucker said he was going to win and he did. Muir was quieted and so were the drums. Thats right Dawgs, that’s right. Dawgs schooled Muir!

  • Angry Dena Dog!

    “Dena’s in the house, and you know it’s all good, We’re gonna stomp on Muir just like we stomp on wood” HELL YEAH!!

  • B L

    I think we all know Smalley is a front runner and once the talent fades or he feels he can’t get a self serving benefit, he will bail on Muir. Didn’t he bail on Blair after he ruined their Athletic department with hires that didn’t do anything but regress the program for years back into the 80’s. Muir is not the powerhouse it once was and rep can only take you so far. Face it, if you are not going to bring it for your crosstown rival and want to “rest” players for the playoffs, you don’t get high school sports. These are kids who are in the glory years of their lives. Most won’t have anything after this athletically. Give the their moment in the sun. But I guess being on the sideline it doesn’t sound as good as when Smalley was trying to be a commentator on cable access. What a joke. And I am a Bulldog, so what does that say when I am calling out YOUR coach for his lack of coaching testicular fortitude?

  • Dilla

    B L:

    I can tell you what it says, it means you have no ideal what is happening on the Muir bench or in the locker room. Muir has lost one league game, only one and because it happens to be against PHS it means he is failing his team? And come on man, his commenting on PCAC, which I worked on, was important for local athletes back when youtube didn’t exist. He did that for free like the rest of us. What are you doing after work for the young athletes of Pasadena, for free at that? Before Gamal came to Muir it was a mess of a program, and its much better now. If that is what you call a joke, I’m sure you and many others who have been here doing nothing for our community are the punchlines. I’m sure his seniors are enjoying their senior year having lost only 1 game and winning tournament Championships early on in the season. Give Gamal some credit, he willingly set his big for two consecutive games so that his guys wouldn’t have to worry about CIF issues. You also have to give Tuck credit for seeing that and letting Jolley take advantage of that demolishing the paint. And I am am not a Mustang or Bulldog, so what does that say when I am calling out YOUR ridiculous behind for your overly serious reaction to a high school basketball game.

    This has been the most exciting year of basketball Pasadena has seen in years and you want to attack the Coach responsible for that. What a foolish thing to do.

  • Bulldog defense…..it worked, but Muir’s offense never really got started; there offense made little to zero adjustments.

    But, hey – the crowd was great.

    Laurence Todd

  • Stangs Mama

    True Stangs NEVER give excuses. Everyone who matters knows whats up…nuff said. But please let’s not pretend. Muir beat PHS on their court and turnabout is fair play. Our boys lost last night for the first time in Pacific League this year. Done.

    Coach Tucker got those boys right and they came to play. And they played great last night. We split the season 1-1 with the Dogs and wish them well going forward. Don’t get it twisted–our boys have played together since elementary and the “rivalry” serves the city, but at the end of the night, it’s our community & hometown of Pasadena moving forward in CIF – God willing.

    However, If you haven’t seen Muir play before last night, don’t speak on it! A team doesn’t earn the record they have on hype! Be real. One game–any game–does not define our boys. Coach Smalley has helped to rebuild this program and you have to respect that, you don’t have to understand it, just look at the numbers cuz the numbers don’t lie. AND Muir swept CV – we don’t owe them nothing but another sweep next year. The Stangs are a great team–from the coaching staff on through to the stat girl– our record and our title say so–not because of Miguel…or the L.A. Times…or ESPN…or….

  • Anonymous

    Pre-game: Two starters out for Muir and one is a main factor. Pasadena wants revenge badly.

    Start of game: Smalley starts seniors, and leaves them in way too long. Pasadena takes advantage inside very early.

    During game: Pasadena was hungry and outplayed Muir. Muir was out of sync with both starters out and down big early.

    End of game: Pasadena beats Muir.

    After game: Pasadena goes deep in playoffs, Muir bows out early without Frazier and Cockrell.

    Good luck to both in the playoffs.

  • Anonymous

    All im hearing is EXCUSES no team in the history of RIVALS intentionally takes the back seat to the other team even with Muir other two starters or whatever Pasadena was still going to win that game the first game Muir won down the stretch good game this game wasnt even close Smalley is the first coach to ever to bow down to the rival. Smalley prepared the Stangs fan well with EXCUSES but the game wasnt even close and those seniors was only in for 1:50 down 8-0 Pasadena won by 18 do the math.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yeah and Muir was without those starters the last two games and the dude frazier couldnt stop Jolley in the first game what would had been different this game Muir backups won that first game and Jelani. But in all respect i do hope Muir well the rest of the season i believe Muir is better than majority of those teams in the 4aaa division only team i see them having problems with is LaVern, not price or crespi or any other team. As for the dogs well just know they might be getting fitted for rings this year.

  • I think you all better give Dr. Gamal a lot of credit for getting Muir to where it can make this a competitive rivalry again. His program halted Tuck’s 9-year run. That’s pretty damn impressive.

  • Stangs03

    LMAO!!! Bulldog fans almost wet their panties for tihs one! Tuck is a great coach, if anyone could prepare his team to make a statement its Tuck. Much credit to Bulldogs! From what i gather bulldog fans may not know how to handle defeat after winning for a good amount a time. Thats evident in the fact that after first game, no comments on the game from bulldog fans. Not even a congratulatory “good game”! buuuut when your a bulldog, i suppose you have to have something to pride yourself on, it sure aint football. as to the idiot putting down Coach Smalley, thats just ignorant. A man who takes pride in his team, and restores confidence in the young men, as well as the parents, and community surely deserves more that a idiotic rant on a local blog. Keep it goin Smalley, and mustang faithful will be there to support you, as we have everybody else. good job young stangs! keep up the good work, and lets gear up for CIF!!!! you know the story… This is STILL STANGS territory!!! <-- LA Times thinks so!

  • Say it aint so!!! I hear the Stangs have to forfeit 21 games. The Frazier kid was declared ENL for the season. Such a great run only to be ruined by clerical mistakes. He is a good kid who I believe worked his but off like the rest of the team. TRAGEDY!!

  • B L

    SO using an ineligible player is a clerical error? NO it’s an ethical error that the AD & Coach elected to overlook. THAT is not the way you turn a program around. Sure he has instilled pride that has been lost at a school whose main sense of pride has to be athletics because academically it is not strong. So as the jocks tend to clamor for rebuilding pride through the sports programs, and this Smalley really doing things out of the kindness of his heart, believe that if you want but there is always an ulterior motive. This is a MAJOR issue that needs to be addressed. Not just at the school level, but CIF didn’t know he was ineligible ALL SEASON? CIF is outdated, but unfortunately those are the rules. As a former Bulldog, I think it sucks. These kids earned the right to play in the playoffs and credit where it is due, ran through the Pacific League with 1 loss. The real losers are the kids and the team who gets in because of it. A poor lesson to take.