Hoover falls in Pacific League game vs Muir HS


By Anthony Gharib

What began as a regular Pacific League matchup between the Muir Mustangs and Hoover Tornadoes, quickly turned into a demoralizing loss for the Tornadoes and highlight alley-oop struck victory for the Mustangs. A 78-24 victory for the Mustangs brought a season low in points for the Tornadoes, and a season high in points for the Mustangs.

“We were aggressive on defense and kept an active hand in the passing lanes, and were looking to create turnovers.” Muir Head Coach Simaine Stewart said.

The game began with Hoover opening up in a 3-2 zone hoping to contain the lights out shooters of Muir, but rapidly backfired as the Mustangs exposed the undersized big men of Hoover.

Junior guard Davit Pirijanyan opened up the scoring when he knocked down a three-pointer early. Pirijanyan, who was been playing with a semi-fractured wrist, led the Tornadoes in scoring with 11 points and two steals.

The Mustangs started out slow but maintained a 13-6 lead early, forcing a timeout to be called with 3:03 left in the 1st quarter by Hoover Head Coach Jack Van Patten.

The defensive intensity quickly picked up, as the Mustangs forced an abundance of turnovers which resulted from a trapping press. This led to quick and easy points as the lead extended by 10 points in a matter of two minutes.

“We just started to buckle down and play our game,” Senior six-foot-seven forward Hunter Woods said. “We kept talking on defense, working together and looking to help each other out.”

The Tornadoes responded poorly, falling into a drought that lasted more than two minutes. Senior guard Angel Mino ended the drought, but the Mustangs responded with three quick buckets, ending the quarter on a 14-2 run.

Coach Jack Van Patten inserted a completely new lineup in the second quarter, hoping for a spark offensively. This backfired tremendously, as the Tornadoes finished with a total of two points the entire quarter.

Along with Hunter Woods, senior guard Haleem Jenkins began to extend the lead drastically after coming up with numerous steals and easy layups. Jenkins finished with 11 points and a team high three steals. The Tornadoes were yet again outscored in the second quarter by a margin of 13. At the end of the first half, the Mustangs were seemingly in control with a 42-10 lead.

Opening up the third quarter, the Mustangs executed a perfect three on one play leading to an alley-oop slam from Hunter Woods, sending the near empty gym into a frenzy. The reserves for both teams quickly entered in the fourth, as the Tornadoes were outscored 28-6 in the third.

Senior guard Woods led the team with 14 points, and finished with one block and two steals. Senior six-foot-eight forward Tasson “Tae Tae” Aubry-Thomas finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds. The Mustangs will face off against their crosstown rivals the Pasadena Bulldogs and UNLV commit Bryce Hamilton this upcoming Friday.