Muir’s Taeon Mason picks Washington St. … after shunning USC …

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Muir WR/DB Taeon Mason, a two-time Star-News All-Area selection, has committed to play next fall at Washington St. Mason had previously committed to USC before recently opening his recruitment up again.

Mason is likely to play receiver and return kicks for the Cougars. Opposing offenses simply didn’t throw to Mason’s side of the field this past season. On offense, Mason had 569 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.

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Pasadena owns the city … and first place in the Pacific League

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PHOTOS from PHS-MUIR

Two weeks ago, it looked like the Pasadena High School boys basketball team might be an also-ran in the Pacific League. Now, it looks like the Bulldogs might run away with the league title.

Pasadena rode its stifling defense to a 56-46 win over rival on Friday night and boosted its win streak to six game while maintaining full control of the league standings.

“Pasadena will never be counted out, that’s just the way it is,” Bulldogs head coach Tony Brooks said. “We hadn’t necessarily started out of the gate well. We had four football players that joined us who play big minutes, so we had to get them acclimated to everything.

“It just takes time in our system. We do have a system. It’s not just throw the ball out. There’s a system and the kids have to learn it and they’ve got to learn it with no hesitations so they can play fast and free.”

Pasadena improved to 12-8 overall and 7-1 in league. Muir, which could have used a win on Friday to avoid falling further behind in the standings, fell to 12-8 and 4-3.

It was apparent early that Muir’s lack of offense was going to be a big problem for the Mustangs’ chances. But good defense of its own helped Muir stay close until Bulldogs swing man Tyrek Adams fueled a spurt early in the fourth quarter to help his team pull away.

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First-place South Pas follows La Canada win with rout of Temple City …

Proving last Friday’s win over La Canada was no fluke, the South Pasadena High School boys basketball team set its sights on taking full control of the Rio Hondo League on Wednesday night.

Standing in the way was visiting Temple City, which entered the night tied atop the league with the Tigers, but it didn’t take very long to see who the clear class of the league is for now.

South Pasadena bolted to a early double-figure lead and never looked back in a 77-69 win. The Tigers are now alone in first place and served notice they’ll be a force to reckon with the rest of winter.

“That’s what we’re capable of,” South Pasadena coach David Lutzeier said. “When we play our best game, I really think we’re unstoppable offensively. We consider ourselves the front runner in the league.

“We really think we’re the best team in this league and we don’t feel like we’re upsetting anybody. We know what we’re capable of.”

Lutzeier and the Tigers might know it, but it probably took the past two games for everyone else to believe it. South Pasadena improved to 11-5 overall and 3-0 in league. Temple City fell to 11-8 and 2-1 in league.

The Rams never really had a chance given South Pasadena’s hot start. Joey Toyama hit four 3-pointers in the first half and the Tigers eventually led by over 20 points in the second quarter. Toyama finished with a game-high 25 points.

After falling in such a big first-half hole, Temple City slowly chipped away at the lead and with South Pasadena cooling off just a bit in the third quarter, the Rams were able to twice cut the lead to 10 points.

But South Pasadena found offense each time to repel the threat. Leading 61-51 to start the fourth quarter, Christian Lee hit a 3-pointer for the Tigers on their first possession of the final period. Greg Luck, who had 19 points, later added another 3-pointer and the lead ballooned back out to 15.

“We had a horrible start,” Temple City coach Eric Chin said. “They hit a couple of big shots and it was just a big deficit to come back from. They’re a very good team. Very well-coached. It’s just hard to come back from that.”

Lutzeier emptied out his bench late in the fourth quarter, which allowed the score to get cosmetically more appealing for Rams fans. The two teams meet again at Temple City on Feb. 6.

“I really thought we’d come out a little bit hungover from that (La Canada) win,” Lutzeier said of his team. “I’m proud of the way they stepped up. They surprised me.”

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ROSTERS set for Hall of Fame All-Star Game on Jan. 30 …

When: Fri, Jan. 30
Where: West Covina HS, 7:30 p.m.

EAST

WEST ROSTER
Coaches: Paul Schilling (Crescenta Valley), Steve Bogan (Maranatha)

Chase Walker WR Crescenta Valley
Christian Herrera DB El Monte
Israel Royal WR/RB Franklin
Jordan Lobianco WR Crescenta Valley
Josh Benson WR/RB Arcadia
Tyler Ili OLB West Covina
Caleb Devine RB Maranatha
Michael Fulton DE/LB Muir
Tevita Sina DE Los Altos
Xavious Boone DB Maranatha
Eli Snyder QB Maranatha
Jorge Reyna QB Pasadena
Brian Reyes LB Muir
Octavius Spencer WR Monrovia
Jean-luc Dauphiney DB Cantwell/Sacred Heart
Nick Jovanelly WR Eagle Rock
Aiden Anding LB Burroughs
David Smith DB Muir
Nick Cantong DB Burbank
Tony Toledo RB Burbank
Fernando Espinosa DB El Monte
Carter Otte WR Verdugo Hills
Jasper Chavez OLB Rosemead
Raul Alegria LB Eagle Rock
Josh Herrera DL West Covina
Blake Cusick K/P Monrovia
Michael Sahagun LB Rosemead
Chris Osorio RB Wilson (H.H.)
Christian Wiley LB Bishop Amat
Titus Stewart OL/DL Cantwell/Sacred Heart
Christian Walton OL Monrovia
David Tolmachoff OL Los Altos
Robert Sanchez OL Arroyo
Eric Quevedo OL West Covina
Davo Hokobyan OL Crescenta Valley
Andrew Mills OL Burroughs
Drew Nixon OL St. Francis
Andrew Lopez OL Bishop Amat
Cesar Jimenez OLB Franklin
Matt Erickson DE Crescenta Valley
Brandon Arconado WR Bishop Amat
David Jimenez DL Los Altos

EAST ROSTER
Coach: Steve Randall, Colony
Zack Sturdivant QB Chino Hills
Christian Lara QB La Mirada
Josh Radecki OL South Hills
Josiah Grey OL Rancho Cucamonga
Angelo Lojero OL La Mirada
Albert Gonzales OL Whittier
Travis Miller OL La Serna
Ben Northrup OL Glendora
Abel Martinez OL Claremont
Clay Garcelli OL Chino Hills
Jesse Garcia RB South Hills
Angel Verdugo RB Bonita
Pernell Smalley RB Covina
Kenyon Woods WR Pomona
Blake Fisher WR Rancho Cucamonga
Mackenzie Sternquist WR Damien
Malcom Smith WR Los Osos
Keon Stevens WR Etiwanda
Caleb Repp TE Los Osos
Noah Evans TE Whittier Christian
Michael Neal TE Etiwanda
Axl Mendoza K Colony
Sarkis Panossian RB/LB Western Christian
Kele Scott DB Pomona
Desmond Bobo DB Pomona
James Oxier DB Chaffey
Erick Ware DB San Dimas
Ryan Kinnard DB Colony
Julio Reynoso DB Pioneer
Preston Carr LB Don Lugo
Jason Ortiz LB Charter Oak
Jacob Underhill LB Charter Oak
Zack Lewallen LB Glendora
Justin Frasier LB Glendora
Uepi Kaufusi DL Rancho Cucamonga
Patrick Sanchez DL Damien
Peyrn En Twogood DL Claremont
Marcus Lewis DL Chino
Daniel Porraz DL Colony

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Muir beats Crescenta Valley on Jeremy Hayes’ jumper with 3 seconds left … Pasadena stunned by Hoover …

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Jeremy Hayes puts up game-winning shot to beat CV.

PHOTOS

It didn’t happen exactly how his coach drew it up, but Muir High School forward Jeremy Hayes will take the bottom-line result.

Hayes banked in a jumper in traffic from in front of the Muir bench with three seconds left on the clock Wednesday to give the host Mustangs a 46-44 win over defending co-Pacific League champion Crescenta Valley.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Hayes said of his game-winner. “I always think they’re going in. It’s an excellent win. We talked about it all week and we knew how valuable it was for this first (league) game to get this win.”

Wednesday’s game was Muir’s league opener. The Mustangs finished third in league last year while rival Pasadena and Crescenta Valley shared the title. Muir improved to 9-5 overall while the Falcons fell to 9-5 overall and 0-1 in league.

The entire second was a white-knuckle affair with neither team ever holding a lead larger than two possessions. Hayes tied the game at 42-42 with 1:40 left on a short banker inside. He then used another short banker on Muir’s next possession to give his team the lead 44-42.

Crescenta Valley got fouled on its next possession and Atrin Ovanessian calmly hit both free throws to tie the game at 44-44 with 36 seconds left. While Ovanessian was at the line, Mustangs head coach Simaine Stewart could be heard repeating “I get the last shot” in front of his bench.

“It wasn’t confidence to win, it wasn’t confidence that we weren’t going to lose in regulation,” Stewart said. “We wanted to have the ball last. We’re at home. We feel like these rims are a little bit more friendly to us than they are to them.

“We wanted the opportunity to have the last shot and give them very little time. The goal was to run something to the other side and then to come back to him (Hayes). Actually, the drive was supposed to go to the middle. He went baseline. Obviously, it was luck. We’ll take it.”

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Boys and Girls hoops Top 10s and scoring leaders …

BOYS BASKETBALL

1. Keppel (10-4)
Overwhelming Almont favorites
2. La Canada (9-4)
Ready to repeat in RHL
3. Maranatha (3-5)
Full strength at right time
4. St. Francis (9-5)
Still a quality product
5. Muir (8-5)
New faces, good results
6. Pasadena (4-6)
Salty record vs. good opponents
7. Renaissance Academy (8-6)
Quality resume so far
8. La Salle (6-7)
Playing good foes
9. Temple City (8-6)
Dangerous on right night
10. Gabrielino (8-4)
On a roll at right time

Top 10 Scoring
Avg Points Per Game

Tyler Dorsey, Maranatha, 26.5
Marquise Mosley, Renaissance, 23.2
Jermey Hayes, Muir, 19.2
Ali Elhawary, Temple City, 17.5
Richard Hollinger, Temple City, 13.9
Kade Cheung, Arcadia, 13.1
Victor Tsogt, Rio Hondo Prep, 13.1
Javal Burnom, La Salle, 12.6
Kosta Jankovic, Renaissance, 12.0
Rene Santos, Renaissance, 10.7

GIRLS BASKETBALL

1. Keppel (9-5)
Battle-tested and ready
2. South Pasadena (10-1)
Off to excellent start
3. Arcadia (11-2)
Living up to the hype
4. Maranatha (10-8)
Already played 18 games
5. La Canada (9-5)
Still a force in RHL
6. Gabrielino (11-2)
Favorites in the MVL
7. Flintridge Prep (9-1)
Putting up gobs of points
8. La Salle (7-9)
Holding own so far
9. San Gabriel (9-6)
Can they scare Keppel?
10. Temple City (5-7)
RHL looks loaded again

Top 10 Scoring
Avg. Points Per Game

Channon Fluker, Maranatha, 26.6
Kiki Yang, Pas Poly, 22.8
Megan Vilar, Mayfield, 20.3
Stephanie Esquivel, Rio Hondo Prep, 19.7
Julia Macabuhay, La Salle, 19.4
Lexie Scholtz, South Pasadena, 17.9
Tala Ismail, Flintridge Prep, 15.8
Caira Benton, Arcadia, 15.7
Sophia Hathaway, South Pasadena, 13.3
Elise Takahama, South Pasadena, 12.7

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Cantwell powers past Maranatha in Rose City Classic semis

Faced with a double-digit deficit on the road in the second half, the Cantwell-Sacred Heart boys basketball stayed calm and went inside.

When you have two 6-foot-11 post players, you can do those sorts of things to weather any storm. The Cardinals did just that and rallied past host Maranatha for a 56-51 win on Friday night in the semifinals of the Rose City Classic.

“We have the two big kids, who have tons of experience at the varsity level, but everyone is up from junior varsity or new to the program, so this all new for them,” Cantwell head coach George Zedan said. “We’re super excited and happy with the kids’ effort.

“Obviously, Maranatha is a great team and they’re missing their two bigs. It probably would have been a different story had they had them. But we’ll take the win and we’re super thrilled.”

Cantwell improved to 3-0 and will play Price in Saturday’s championship game. Maranatha fell to 2-1 and will play Chino Hills in Saturday’s third-place game.

Despite not having 6-10 forward Trevor Stanback (illness) and 6-9 center Odera Nwobi (CIF sit-out period), the Minutemen had their chances.

Trailing 54-51, Maranatha had the ball back and missed three shots in the closing seconds before winning a loose ball out of bounds for one final shot following one of the misses. With five seconds left, the Minutemen had trouble in-bounding the ball and a desperate pass to center court was intercepted by Cantwell’s Antonio Cortez, who got fouled and iced the win with two free throws.

“It came down to bigs and their bigs showed up when they had to,” Maranatha head coach Tim Tucker said. “I knew we had to have a bigger lead than we had. I’m proud of my guys. We fought. I think we missed a lot of free throws, too. It was just a great game by both teams.”

Maranatha got hot from outside midway through the third quarter and a two-point lead at halftime for the Minutemen swelled to 42-29. Cantwell used an 11-0 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to get things close again.

Down the stretch, the Cardinals found the much easier offense by using their height advantage while Maranatha often struggled just to get shots off. Oregon St.-bound center Gligorije Rakocevic led the Cantwell with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Maranatha super recruit Tyler Dorsey led all scorers with 21 points.

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ROSE CITY CLASSIC at Maranatha; Quarterfinals set

Maranatha Rose City Classic Quarterfinal schedule set

Championship quarterfinals:
Chino Hills vs. Dorsey, 8 p.m., Wednesday
Westlake vs. Price, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Alemany vs. Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 6:30 p.m., Thursday
Oak Park vs. Maranatha, 8 p.m., Thursday
Consolation quarterfinals:
Highland vs. Pasadena, 3:30 p.m., Wednesday
St. Francis vs. Canyon Springs, 5 p.m., Wednesday
Renaissance Academy vs. Cajon, 3:30 p.m., Thursday
Leuzinger vs. St. Anthony, 5 p.m. Thursday

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