Pasadena Poly's Michelle Miller tops the Pasadena Sun's Top 10 Sports Moments of 2012
School drew headlines, mass media as she climbed the Southern Section's scoring ladder.
Poly Pasadena's Michelle Miller has been playing basketball since she was four years old. She currently attends Princeton. "I learned how to develop myself as a leader," she says. Miller hopes to win a game in the NCAA tournament, she adds. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer) (December 29, 2012)
While the writers and editors of the Pasadena Sun came up with a list of 30 impact events that took place within the coverage area, here are our top 10 stories of 2012.
1) Michelle Miller climbs up the scoring list and finishes No. 2 in the Southern Section and fifth in state in scoring.
Much attention came to Miller on Jan. 7 in an evening Prep League contest at the Webb Schools.
With television crews from KTLA and Fox Sports on hand along with a packed crowd, Miller scored 45 points and hauled in 17 rebounds in the Panthers’ 76-35 victory in which the forward surpassed women’s basketball icon Lisa Leslie on the CIF Southern Section scoring list for fourth all-time.
While the accomplishment came with much fanfare, Miller wasn’t done, as she later passed up another legend in Diana Taurasi (3, 047) and El Toro’s Guiliana Mendiola (3, 069) in capping her career with 3, 331 career points.
Miller only trails perhaps the greatest women’s basketball player of all time in Cheryl Miller (3, 446) in finishing second in the Southern Section, fifth in state and 29th nationally.
Overall, Michelle Miller averaged an area-best 32.5 points per game and individually outscored 14 of her team’s opponents, including tallying a season-high 52 points against Flintridge Prep on Jan. 20 in an 80-27 victory.
The Princeton-bound Miller led the Panthers to a fourth straight Prep League championship, a Poly Tournament championship, a 22-5 record and advancement to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs.
She also swam her way to the CIF swimming finals in multiple events, but it was on the hardwood that she truly left a lasting legacy.
2) Muir forfeits 20 games and a playoff berth while head coach Gamal Smalley is placed on administrative leave before resigning.
The highlights and low points for the Mustangs circled around two important games versus city archrival Pasadena High.
Maybe there was no bigger moment in recent Mustangs hoops history than when Muir defeated Pasadena on the road, 64-60, on Jan. 22.
The victory vaulted Muir into first place alone atop the Pacific League standings as the Mustangs broke a 14-game losing streak to the Bulldogs that extended back to 2004.
Muir eventually won its next six games in building a 24-1 record heading into the season finale against Pasadena on Feb. 9.
In that contest, though, the Mustangs were absent a key player and a downtrodden bunch was beaten up by Pasadena, 71-53.
The loss foreshadowed impending doom as the program was forced to forfeit 20 games three days later due to the use of an ineligible player.
The forfeits were announced hours before the CIF Southern Section office released its playoffs brackets, which did not include Muir.
A little more than a week after the forfeitures came news that Muir Coach Gamal Smalley was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 22. Smalley eventually resigned two weeks later and was part of an exodus that included principal Sheryl Orange and assistant principal Charles Park.