By Tim Peterson
(La Verne) – Bryce Hamilton scored 35 points and Darius Brown II tossed in 23 to lead Pasadena to an 88-75 win over host Damien and into the CIF Division 1 Semi Finals Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-4 advantage and led 19-14 after one with Brown scoring eight in the quarter. Damien fought back in the second quarter behind Cameron Shelton who knocked down a pair of threes and tied it at 29.
However Pasadena quickly hit the Spartans with another 10-0 run, went up 46-33 at the half and never looked back. Brown had a huge second quarter knocking down three consecutive treys and scoring 11 in the quarter. While Hamilton was a force down low Damien now had to worry about stopping Brown from the perimeter.
“Darius played a whale of a game. He loves these types of games. He’s the kind of a kid that when you have these types of games he really steps up,” said Pasadena Coach Tony Brooks.”He’s done that all year last year for us and all year this year and he’s continuing to do that.”
In the second half Pasadena continued to pull away. If the second quarter belonged to Brown, the third quarter was owned by Hamilton. The UNLV commit outscored Damien 16-14 by himself in the quarter. The Dogs outscored the Spartans 19-14 to lead by 18 through three.
Darius Mason got loose for seven points in the final frame as Pasadena put it away. Damien tried to make a push in the fourth quarter as Freshman Malik Thomas hit three from long distance and scored 11 points. The Spartans scored 28 in the fourth but it wasn’t enough to rattle the Bulldogs who held firm.
“All of those things…they (Damien) have great coaching, a great program, great team, beautiful gym, we looked at that as a challenge to walk in there and play our best. We cherished the adversity, we cherished the setting and having to go on the road instead of looking at it as a negative,” Brooks said. “It’s a building point for us and it’s something we can rely on for future games going forward. We don’t have a gym so we’re kind of used to being on the road.”
Mason finished with 14 and Tavian Percy scored 12 as the Dogs had four players in double figures.
For Damien Shelton was the bulk of the offense with 34, including 21 in the second half. Thomas had 18 and Elijah McCullough added 13. Damien ended the season 24-7 overall.
Pasadena will host Ranch Verde, 53-43 winners over Roosevelt, Friday night.