La Canada and South Pas are co-champs in Rio Hondo League … Pasadena edges rival Muir to secure Pacific League crown …

The stakes were very clear for both the La Canada and South Pasadena High School boys basketball teams on Thursday.

Both teams needed road wins to guarantee at least a share of the Rio Hondo League championship. And for a league that’s had its share of crazy moments this winter, Thursday went surprisingly to form.

La Canada routed Temple City, 66-51. Meanwhile, across town, South Pasadena held off finicky San Marino for a 55-46 win. The Spartans and Tigers are co-league champions.

“It feels right,” South Pasadena head coach David Lutzeier said of winning a share of the league title. “We’ve worked very hard for the last two years. These kids have bought into everything I’ve sold them and shown they’re really capable basketball players.”

South Pasadena improved to 16-7 overall and finished 8-2 in league. San Marino fell to 14-12 overall and 4-6 in league. La Canada finished 20-6 and 8-2. Temple City, which entered the night needing a win over La Canada and a South Pasadena loss to earn a share of the league title, finished 15-11 and 6-4.

All four teams are expected to make the CIF-Southern Section playoffs when the tournament brackets are announced on Sunday. South Pasadena will go as the league’s No. 1 representative after winning a coin flip after Thursday’s games.

PASADENA 67, MUIR 64

The Bulldogs are outright Pacific League champs (again).

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Crazy final week in boys hoops looms

With the announcements of the CIF-Southern Section open division playoff field for boys basketball just days, Maranatha head coach Tim Tucker is finding life on the bubble to be a nerve-wracking thing.

Tucker’s Minutemen enter the final week of the season with a good, not great record of 13-8. But the Minutemen are closing in on the Olympic League championship and feature the leading scorer in the Southern Section in recent Oregon commit Tyler Dorsey, who is averaging 34.7 points per game.

Those factors combined with the high preseason expectations of being one of the Southland’s top 10 teams, make it not hard to see why Maranatha is still in the mix for an open division berth despite not having the most glamorous record around.

The open division was designed to pit up to the best 16 teams in the Southern Section against each other rather than playing in their current divisions. Last season was the first year it was used.

“There’s a good chance we’re in (the open division), but I don’t think we’re an open division team,” Tucker said. “Who have we beat? That’s my thing. I think we’re a good team. Don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think we’re an open division team.”

There’s a caveat to Tucker’s opinion of his team. And that would be 6-foot-10 post player Trevor Stanback, who hasn’t played this season due to an undisclosed illness and likely won’t be back for the playoffs either.

“If we had Stanback, put us in,” Tucker said. “But we don’t have Stanback. So what says we’re an open division team? Chino Hills beat us twice. Long Beach Poly blew us out. We won a close game with Cathedral. Corona Centennial beat us by 30. What says we’re an open division team?

“If we’re an open division team, I will play anybody. It’s not a big deal. I’ve never run from competition and anybody who says Tim Tucker runs from competition is not telling the truth because we probably have the toughest schedule of anybody around this year. But in saying that, the schedule was also made thinking we’d have Stanback.”

RIO HONDO IS WILD TO THE END

Entering the final week of the season, there no less than four teams in the Rio Hondo League still harboring league title aspirations. It figures to be one nutty week.

La Canada and South Pasadena enter the week tied atop the standings with matching 6-2 records in league. Right behind is Temple City at 5-3 in league. Then there’s San Marino at 4-4.

On Tuesday, the first clues will roll in after La Canada visits Blair, Temple City goes to San Marino and South Pasadena hosts Monrovia, which last week caused the chaos by stunning La Canada.

On Thursday, things end stylishly with San Marino hosting rival South Pas, which lost to the Titans at home in late January. That same night, La Canada visits Temple City. Given how the season has gone to date, expect more craziness.

KEPPEL SET TO CELEBRATE

All that stands between Keppel and yet another Almont League title is a home game with Schurr on Tuesday. Win that one, and the Aztecs are league champs with a game left to be played before the regular season is over.

PASADENA IN A DOGFIGHT

Pasadena and Glendale enter the final week of the season tied atop the Pacific League standings. The Bulldogs couldn’t ask for a better way to end the season than what lays ahead.

Pasadena has home games this week against Burbank on Tuesday and Muir on Thursday. The Bulldogs won the first meeting with both teams by double digits, respectively, on the road.

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West proves best … routs East in Hall of Fame All-Star Game …

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Editor’s note: To the players, thanks for the memories and best of luck in the future!

Different boundaries, different result.

The tweak in geographic areas to pool talent from for the West team in the SGV Hall of Fame All-Star Game for high school football seniors paid big dividends on Friday night.

The West ended a seven-game losing streak in the series with a 31-14 win over the East in the game’s 36th renewal. The East still leads the all-time series 23-11-2.

With the West struggling in recent years, game organizers changed the borders used to pool talent from previously the 605 Freeway to now Azusa Ave. The game was also moved from late spring/early summer to January in an effort to help players get some last-minute recruiting attention before signing day next week.

The West held up much better in the trenches than in year’s past and that’s all its offense needed to put up big numbers. Maranatha quarterback Eli Snyder threw two touchdown passes, both to Crescenta Valley receiver Jordan Lobianco.

Muir defensive back Brian Reyes had two interceptions, one of them he returned for an 82-yard touchdown in the second half to give the West a 31-7 lead. It was part of a dominant effort by the West defense.

The West lead 10-0 at halftime thanks to a 38-yard field goal by Montebello’s Enrique Lozano and a 22-yard touchdown pass from Snyder to Lobianco. Reyna hit UCLA-bound Monrovia receiver Octavius Spencer on a 53-yard touchdown pass and it was 17-0 early in the third quarter.

The East got a little momentum after a turnover lead to a 1-yard touchdown run by Bonita’s Angel Verdugo. Another West turnover gave the East more hope, but the West clamped down and didn’t allow any points.

Snyder’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Lobianco on the ensuing possession made it 24-7. The East tried to answer and was driving when Reyes made his second interception of the night and took it back for a score.

La Mirada quarterback Christian Lara hit Pomona’s Manny Luna midway through the fourth quarter to close out the scoring for the East.

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

taemason

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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