Harmon, Ajere lead Bulldogs

first_img• Photo Gallery: Pasadena High vs. Murrieta Valley PASADENA – What a dynamic and dominating combination this has become. When forward Nigel Ajere left Arcadia High to join guard Trevon Harmon at Pasadena this season, Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker raved over the possibilities. “Give it time,” Tucker said months ago. “Those are our two stars, and you want the ball in the hands of your best players,” Tucker said. “We saw that Nigel could exploit them inside all day, and that opened it up for Trey. “But I loved the way both guys attacked and made a statement that they’re on a mission and we’re on a mission to win a championship, and we’ve got one more to go.” The top-ranked Bulldogs are hoping for their first boys basketball title since 1995 and their first championship under Tucker, who led the Bulldogs to championship games in 2002 and 2005 but came up empty. “We’ve been knocking on the door and these kids are hungry and I’m hungry,” Tucker said. “We’re going to enjoy this tonight and prepare for a good show on Saturday.” The Nighthawks (21-11) came with a lot of energy but had no answer for Harmon, who scored 19 of his 33 points in the first half to help the Bulldogs build a 44-22 lead at the break. “We knew they were a fundamental type of basketball team that has been on a great run in the playoffs,” Harmon said. “We just had to let them know they weren’t going any further. “We’ve been working too hard in practice and too hard all year to let it stop now.” For Harmon, it’s his second shot at a championship. He was a sophomore on the 2005 squad that lost to Dominguez in the final. “We want to get this done like we did in ’95,” Harmon said. “We slipped up a couple years ago, but we’re not slipping up this time.” The Nighthawks started to cut into the Bulldogs’ lead early in the fourth quarter behind sophomore Bryce Lenhart, who finished with a team-high 20 points. Lenhart made a pair of free throws to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 58-46 with 5:52 remaining, and it was 63-50 with four minutes left. But each time, the Bulldogs answered and led 74-50 with 1:49 left when both teams emptied their benches. “I don’t know if they knew how good we were,” Tucker said. “Early in the game we built a big lead, and it kind of knocked their confidence a little bit. “They got going in the second half, but the lead was kind of stretched out already. And the one thing about our team is we’re not going to panic. We’re going to rise to the challenge.” Bulldogs forward Armon Binns finished with nine points and four rebounds, and Torey Phillips and Marcus Harvey scored five points apiece. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 4485 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img It was a work in progress at first, but the way the seniors complemented one another during a decisive 78-56 victory over visiting Murrieta Valley in Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division II-AA semifinals at Muir, it was like they have been doing this since childhood. Harmon scored inside and outside to finish with a game-high 33 points and eight rebounds while Ajere dominated on the glass in finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks to lead PHS (29-2) into Saturday’s championship against unseeded St. Bernard (21-10) at the Honda Center in Anaheim. St. Bernard advanced with a 57-52 win over No. 7 Arroyo Valley. “I love it here,” the 6-foot-5 Ajere said. “We’re one big happy family.” For Tucker, it has been a pleasure watching the two grow. last_img

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