Boys Basketball: Muir Hosts Pasadena Thursday Night at 7; Mustangs, Bulldogs in Winner-Take-All Scenario for Pacific League Championship

From Top Clockwise: Haleem Jenkins, Hunter Woods, Tiyon Martin, Simaine Stewart, Darius Brown, Omari Moore, Bryce Hamilton, Darius Mason. By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor If the Pasadena-Muir basketball twice-a-year match up wasn’t electric enough, it just got more dramatic. When the Mustangs welcome their crosstown rival on Thursday night at 7 in the regular season […]

From Top Clockwise: Haleem Jenkins, Hunter Woods, Tiyon Martin, Simaine Stewart, Darius Brown, Omari Moore, Bryce Hamilton, Darius Mason.

By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor

If the Pasadena-Muir basketball twice-a-year match up wasn’t electric enough, it just got more dramatic.

When the Mustangs welcome their crosstown rival on Thursday night at 7 in the regular season finale for both programs, the outright Pacific League title will be on the line for the first time in recent memory.

Both PHS and Muir are 12-1 in league play.

The Bulldogs lost their first Pacific League game of the season at Crescenta Valley, 60-55, on a night their point guard, Darius Brown II wasn’t suited up because of an ankle injury.

PHS is on a 12-game winning streak.

Muir’s lone loss came 20 days ago when Pasadena got our early and cruised to an 81-62 victory at Maranatha.

Since then, though, Muir has won six games in a row to set the stage for the main event in area hoops, and their 20 (overall) victories are the area’s best.

Representatives from both schools suggest getting to Muir no later than 5:30, because of the number tickets that have already been sold, and once the gym is full, even those with Internet purchased tickets aren’t guaranteed a seat if they arrive late.

In the first showdown, PHS shot over 60-percent from the field (33 of 55 shooting) and used their size and length to set up a score of fast-break points.

They also had eight more 3-point baskets made than Muir and finished with 30 assists to just 7 turnovers.

Muir would and is the first to admit they didn’t rise to the occasion, but with a home court advantage, the Mustangs feel confident in their chances of winning, as well as executing their game plan.

A couple of Muir coach Simaine Stewart’s biggest concerns are limiting fast-break points and offensive rebounds for PHS.

Muir guard Tiyon Martin said 48 hours before the second of two meetings with the Bulldogs that his guys “weren’t ready” the first time around, but they’ve “made the adjustments to give us a much better shot at winning Thursday night.”

Muir is led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Hunter Woods, who has been ‘all-everything’ for the Mustangs.

Woods is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

Haleem Jenkins is second in scoring with 13 per game, but in the first match up with PHS, Jenkins was held scoreless, and that obviously will change on Thursday night, and in the comfort of their own gym.

Dual point guards Tiyon Martin and Simaine Stewart Junior combine for 20 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds each night.

Tasson Aubry will be key if Muir is to upend the 13-time champs, because of his size and strength on the boards. He’s scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Mustangs.

“Until we knock them off, they’re the man,” Muir coach Simaine Stewart said. “We’ve gotten better since we last met an we’re certainly prepared and excited to play for the outright league championship.”

As mentioned, Pasadena is 12-0 since the return of DBII.

PHS is 25-1 the last two years in Pacific League action.

Their UNLV-bound senior Bryce Hamilton is the go-to guy.

Hamilton scores 22 points per game, as well as 8 rebounds and 2 assists.

Darius Brown II has been amazing since coming back, and he’s putting up 16 points, 11 assists and 6 steals.

Tavian Percy scores 13 per night, grabs 6 rebounds and has 3 assists.

Omari Moore and Darius Mason both contribute an average of 10 points a game.

Mason also is second in rebounds 7 and he’s dishing out approximately 5 assists.

Moore also provides 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

“We expect them to shoot much better and we know they’ll be much more comfortable in their own gym,” Pasadena coach Tony Brooks said. “We’re focused on doing our jobs, and hope to continue playing as well as we’ve been playing.”

Coach Stewart, his son Simaine and Tiyon Martin each acknowledged, to their credit, that PHS humbled them 20 days ago, but insists the outcome will be different on Thursday.

One side note, though, despite the fact that one team will leave the Muir gym ecstatic and the other side will be devastated, the outcome for the loser isn’t even close to being the end of the world.

Both Muir and Pasadena are equipped to make deep CIF-SS playoff runs in their respective divisions, and both could certainly make a run at CIF titles, regardless of Thursday’s contest.

Muir is ranked No. 3 in Division 2 and PHS is No. 12 in Division 1.

Here’s hoping both of these great programs play their best basketball Thursday night and the outcome is decided in the final seconds.

Regardless of the outcome, the city of Pasadena has been represented incredibly well by both Brooks’ and Stewart’s programs all season.

By The Numbers:
Total Wins: Muir 20; Pasadena 19
Points Scored Per Game: PHS 72; Muir 68
Points Allowed Per Game: PHS 54; Muir 60
Total Points Scored: PHS 1,808; Muir 1,758
Total Points Allowed: PHS 1,346; Muir 1,551
Current Win Streak: PHS 12, Muir 6
Most Points In One Game: PHS 95 v Burroughs; Muir 97 v Burroughs
Most Points Allowed In One Game: PHS 73 v Rancho Christian: Muir 81 v Pasadena

Pacific League Standings:
Muir (20-6 overall, 12-1 in league)
Pasadena (19-6, 12-1)
Crescenta Valley (14-12, 7-6)
Burbank (16-10, 6-7)
Arcadia (10-11, 6-7)
Glendale (17-9, 5-8)
Burroughs (13-13, 3-10)
Hoover (5-21, 1-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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