Above: Paramedics tend to Muir’s Tahniya Sweatt, who finished with 10 points.
By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer
PASADENA — The Muir High School girls basketball team exceeded expectations this year, what with key players not available in the tailend of the Mustangs’ season.
It was only a matter of time until Muir’s lack of depth would become an issue. That day finally came Wednesday as the Mustangs couldn’t keep up with St. Bernard, losing 67-49 in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs.
Muir (27-4) won the Pacific League championship despite at times having no more than two players on the bench. But even a full bench might not have made a difference against a more skilled St. Bernard (23-7), which overwhelemed the Mustangs with its full-court press and aggressiveness on the glass.
While Muir shot a woeful 30 percent in the game that ultimately led to its demise, it was the last thing on player’s mind at game’s end, which came with 1:35 left in the game.
Muir senior Tahniya Sweatt, who finished with 10 points, suffered a neck injury after going for a loose ball. It’s uncertain whether her momentum going after the loose ball had her crashing against the first row of the bleachers or if she was pushed out of bounds. Fans in the front row were adament that she was deliberately pushed out of bounds, but Muir coach Gary Johnson said he did not believe it was intentional. The game was halted for a few minutes before it was determined that an ambulance would be needed. That’s when Johnson called the game.
CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING
The teams shook hands and no words were exchanged, giving the impression that it was merely an unfortunate play. St. Bernard patiently waited on the bench while paramedics tended to Sweatt, who was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital where she underwent X-rays and other tests late in the evening.
St. Bernard proved to be too hungry for a win and working to make its way back to the finals after losing in the sectional final last year and then later in the CIF State championship game in Sacramento.
The visiting Vikings were led by a young trio. Freshman Lajahna Drummer, a 6-foot-2 forward, finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds. Freshman guard Demoria White added 11 points and sophomore guard Michelle Curry scored a team-high 15 points.
Muir’s Emoni Jackson, a sophomore guard, finished with a game-high 21 points. It was apparent that the Mustangs were looking for her to carry them in the second, and she did. But Muir’s couldn’t overcome a slow start despite closing the gap to within nine 44-35 with 3:03 left in the third quarter on a Shaela Flynn 3-pointer. She finished with 13 points.
St. Bernard opened the game on a 12-0 run while Muir missed nine of its first 10 shots. The Mustangs managed to finish on a modest 9-2 run but was 5 of 17 in the first quarter. Muir missed its first 11 shot attempts in the second quarter and didn’t record a field goal until 2:27 left on a Sweatt steal and layup. The Mustangs were 3 of 17 in that quarter.
Turnovers were an issue for the Mustangs (14), but St. Bernard (23) was worse. But fastbreaks, rebounds and the pace was too steep a hill for Muir to climb. At one point, St. Bernard was outrebounding the Mustangs, 42-16 with 4:06 left in the fourth quarter.
Johnson beamed with pride at the fact Muir got this far. In the end, St. Bernard proved to be a more complete team and was nearly speechless at trying to dissect the outcome.
“They just beat us,” Johnson said. “They beat us in every facet of the game. The big girl (Drummer) wanted the ball more. That’s …. they just beat us.”