Pasadena ready for Fairfax

first_imgOff famed Melrose Boulevard near the heart of Hollywood is where the Pasadena High School boys basketball team will learn if one of the best seasons in school history also will include a victory over top-ranked Fairfax. The CIF-Southern Section Division II-AA champion Bulldogs (32-2) already have set a school record for wins in a season. They also have reached the CIF State Southern California Division I regional semifinals for the first time. The 6-foot-8 Stanback averages 26 points and 11 rebounds on a Lions (25-5) team that is ranked fourth in the state by MaxPreps. It is one that owns three victories over City Section runner-up Westchester, which also remains alive in the state playoffs. “Chace Stanback’s father is one of my golfing buddies, and everybody knows what a great player his son is,” Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker said. “He’s going to UCLA for a reason. He can go inside and outside and shoot the 3s. “When I think about Fairfax, I think about a great program. But I keep telling people we’re a great program too, so let’s roll the dice and see what happens.” Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani didn’t appear to know much about the Bulldogs, but he was impressed with how easily they have dominated opponents in the playoffs. The Bulldogs defeated Sun Valley Poly 79-57 in Thursday’s quarterfinals and have won their past 17 games by double-digit margins. But if the Bulldogs hope to reach next week’s regional finals at Pauley Pavilion, they will have to go through UCLA-bound forward Chace Stanback and the Los Angeles City Section champion in tonight’s game at Fairfax. Tipoff is 7 p.m. center_img “They won a section title, they won 32 games, so obviously they’re a great team,” Kitani said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, so we’re anticipating a difficult game.” There is a mystique that comes with facing City Section teams, which have won 16 state titles since the state championships were brought back in 1980. Fairfax won the state crown with Jordan Farmar in 2004, and Westchester won it in 2005. But don’t expect the Bulldogs, who have an 84-10 record over the past three years and two CIF-SS divisional finals appearances, to be intimidated. “Nobody is going to intimidate this group,” Tucker said. “There’s something different about us. We rise to the challenge. “I keep saying, `You’re not going to blow us out because we play great defense.’ And if you’re going to beat us, you have to beat us, because we’re not going to beat ourselves.” Bulldogs forward Nigel Ajere has been playing with a broken left index finger since the CIF-SS Division II-AA championship game. His doctor wanted him to put a cast on it, but Ajere has it wrapped and is waiting for the season to end. “Nothing is going to keep him off the floor,” Tucker said of Ajere, who had 24 points and nine rebounds in Thursday’s win. “He’s a warrior. He’s not thinking about his finger. He wants to help us win games.” (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!last_img

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