Los Angeles Preps: Dion Nelson
February, 9, 2012
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
PASADENA -- Brandon Jolley had some fun with the Rose City rivalry Thursday night, blowing kisses toward the opposing fans after nearly every made basket in the second half.
It didn’t matter who scored; Jolley blew kisses, each more exuberant than the last. And when it was time for seriousness, Jolley was there too.
Nine-time Pacific League champion Pasadena had been dethroned by Muir earlier in the week, and, earlier in the season, beaten by its neighboring rival for the first time in over a decade. Jolley made sure to avenge the loss and regain pride, leading Pasadena to a 71-53 road victory against Muir in the regular-season finale.
“When they beat us at our house [last month] we underestimated them, we didn’t really care about them,” said Jolley, who poured in a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight boards. “We had to take them more seriously.”
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comBrandon Jolley's 26 points were the difference as Pasadena avenged an earlier loss to Muir.
Pasadena (19-7) galloped into the Mustangs' gym, opening a 23-9 lead after the first quarter behind Jolley’s energy down low. The Bulldogs began with a sizzling 14-2 run, and the highly anticipated rematch never lived up to the hype.
“There’s a lot of talk in this town, and Jolley was one who felt there was too much talk going on,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said. “I think people got it confused that we’re the second team in the city. We’re not the second team in the city. We might have some blips and a little bad luck, but we’re five points away from being undefeated [in league] this year. We know how good we are. Jolley knows how good he is. We came out to prove it.”
Muir’s bumpy beginning, meanwhile, coincided with coach Gamal Smalley’s decision to honor his seniors by fielding an all-senior lineup. The group of non-starters stayed on the floor for almost two minutes.
“We were in foul trouble in the first game so we couldn’t play Pasadena defense,” Tucker said. “We got down, slapped the floor and said ‘We’re not giving them anything.’ We got out to an early lead and built on it.”