By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor It was a pretty remarkable season for Pasadena area boys basketball. Pasadena (25-8) led the way with its second consecutive trip to the CIF-SS title game, a deep run in the CIF State playoffs, and yet another Pacific League championship. The Bulldogs paced the area with 25 victories and watching […]
By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor
It was a pretty remarkable season for Pasadena area boys basketball.
Pasadena (25-8) led the way with its second consecutive trip to the CIF-SS title game, a deep run in the CIF State playoffs, and yet another Pacific League championship.
The Bulldogs paced the area with 25 victories and watching them night in and night out seemed at times like you were watching a highlight reel with athletic fast breaks.
PHS was led by our two-time Player of the Year, Bryce Hamilton, but they also got invaluable performances all season from Darius Brown II, Tavian Percy, Darius Mason and Omari Moore.
Muir (24-9) had their best season in nearly two decades.
The Mustangs finished second in the Pacific League with a 12-2 run, and they made the CIF-SS Division 2A semifinals and earned a CIF State playoff victory as well.
Muir’s 24 wins was second best in the area and just one-game back of Pasadena.
Hunter Woods, Tiyon Martin, Haleem Jenkins, Tasson Aubry and Simaine Stewart all rose to the occasion night after night for our Coach of the Year, Simaine Stewart.
Poly (22-4) quietly had an area-high 85% (winning percentage) and they won a share of the Prep League championship behind longtime Panthers’ coach Brad Hall.
The Panthers had six and nine-game win streaks this season.
They were led throughout by freshman Brandon Szeto, sophomore Nick Richard-Craven and senior/Prep League MVP, Jackson Hayes.
Blair (21-8) had some peaks and valleys in 2017-18, but considering the turnover to graduation and a starter transferring back to Australia, first-year Vikings coach Jelani Gardner did an incredible job.
Blair finished second in the Rio Hondo League, and just one-game back of La Canada.
Dez Washington, as he has the past two seasons, led the Vikings in almost every category, but Dallas Murray, Favour Ihiaso Chris Bagby, Donald Guyton and Zavior Smith all played keys roles in Blair’s success.
Player of the Year: Bryce Hamilton of Pasadena: http://pasadenasportsnow.com/?p=14757
Coach of the Year: Simaine Stewart of Muir: http://pasadenasportsnow.com/?p=14772
The Pasadena Sports Now 2017-18 Boys Basketball All-Stars
Tasson Aubry, Muir Senior: Aubry was a key member in Muir’s record season. The 6-foot-6 forward scored 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots per game for the 24-win Mustangs, and clogged up the middle on defense.
Chris Austin, Maranatha Senior: The Maranatha senior guard is arguably the area’s brightest athlete, and the two-time Olympic League MVP had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block each night for the Olympic League champions. He will play his college ball at Fordham.
Darius Brown II, Pasadena Senior: DBII was the area’s best point guard for the last two seasons. He earned a scholarship to Cal State Northridge thanks to 14 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals per night. He broke the single-season assists record twice with 20, and led the area’s best program/offense.
Wes Clarkson, Maranatha Junior: His numbers certainly couldn’t measure his worth, but Clarkson had a huge role in Maranatha earning yet another Olympic League title and despite the Minutemen having a depleted roster. He averaged 10 points, a team-high 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots per game.
Nick Davis, Flintridge Prep Senior: Davis finally got his shot at the varsity level and made the most of it. He averaged 8 points, 7 rebounds, and a pair of blocked shot per game for the Prep League co-champions. His presence in the middle and on the boards was crucial for the Rebels.
Dennis Flowers III, St. Francis, Junior: The Golden Knights’ junior led the offensive attack with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot each night for a St. Francis team that beat Loyola on the road for the first time in a decade.
Xavier Ford, Maranatha Senior: The Minutemen guard led Maranatha in 3-points made, and averaged 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of steals for the Olympic League champions. He didn’t get nearly the attention he deserved based on his numbers and execution for MHS.
Kenneth Franklin, La Salle Junior: The Lancers’ guard led an offense that scored a collective 1,750 points. He averaged 13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game, and he’ll be ‘the guy’ next season for Coach Mike Lynch’s program.
Jackson Hayes, Poly Senior: The three-sport Panthers’ star earned Prep League MVP honors with 12 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals for the league’s co-champions.
Darius Henderson, La Salle Senior: Henderson, a 6-foot-9 center, earned a scholarship to UMass Lowell, thanks to a senior season in which he averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 2 assists per game for the third-place Lancers.
Favour Ihiaso, Blair Senior: Ihiaso helped lead the Vikings to a second place finish in the Rio Hondo League by scoring 17 points per night. He also added 6 rebounds and 3 assists for first-year coach Jelani Gardner and was one of the Vikings’ most versatile players.
Haleem Jenkins, Muir Senior: Jenkins was the second leading scorer for Muir. The senior guard averaged 13 points per game for a team that won four postseason games. He also grabbed 3 rebounds, had 2 steals and 2 assists each night.
Javon Jones, St. Francis Junior: The Golden Knights’ junior was as complete a player as anyone for Coach Todd Wolfson, averaging 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot each night. He’ll return next season as one of the area’s premier players.
Zach Kim, Flintridge Prep Freshman: The Rebels’ freshman did his part in helping Prep win a share of the Prep League title with their rivals from Poly. Kim averaged 5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals per game.
Jonathan Le, Flintridge Prep, Senior: Le’s statistics could never describe his worth to the Rebels’ success. He averaged 12 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds, but it was when he scored and dished out assists for the Prep League’s co-champs that made him an elite leader.
Tiyon Martin, Muir Senior: Martin was the toughest little guy in the area. The 5-foot-7 guard dominated like he was 6-foot-4 with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 rebounds for the 24-win Mustangs, who made a CIF-SS semifinal playoff run.
Darius Mason, Pasadena Junior: Mason was arguably the most under-appreciated star on the area’s best team. He does so many things well, and averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists 2 steals and 2 blocked shots for the Pacific League champions. He will be the Bulldogs’ star next season.
Omari Moore, Pasadena Senior: Moore returned to PHS for his senior year to be with his closest friends and added a lot to the Pacific League champs and the CIF-SS Diviision 1 runners up. He averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per night, but his value went well beyond stats.
Tavian Percy, Pasadena Senior: Percy was an incredible addition to the Bulldogs program. The Florida transfer was second in total points with 413, second in 3 pointers (54) and had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per night for the Pacific League champions, and the D1 runners up.
Nick Richard-Craven, Poly Sophomore: The Panthers’ sophomore was credited as being Poly’s most consistent player all season. He averaged 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per night for the Prep League co-champions.
Simaine Stewart Jr., Muir Senior: Stewart played with guts, composure and through pain all season because of a brutal ankle injury. He was still able to lead the Mustangs to a CIF-SS semifinal berth by scoring 9 points, dishing out 4 assists, grabbing 3 rebounds and having 2 steals per game for his father’s program.
Brandon Szeto, Poly Freshman: The Panthers’ freshman was one of the area’s best newcomers to the scene, scoring 10 points, grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists per night for a Panthers’ team that went 22-4, including a Prep League co-championship.
Dez Washington, Blair Senior: Washington had an incredible two-year run as one of the area’s premier scorers. One year after leading the program to the CIF-SS finals, the Blair forward averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists for the second-place Vikings.
Hunter Woods, Muir Senior: Woods is as good a person as he is a player. The 6-foot-6 senior was a force for a Mustangs’ program that won more games (24) than any Muir team in the past 20 years. He averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks per game for a team that won four playoff games