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Hart hoops rallies back to beat West Ranch

Indians beat defending Foothill champions

Posted: January 14, 2014 10:04 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2014 10:04 p.m.

Hart's Lewis Stallworth (23) scores against West Ranch defenders Christian Ware-Berry (21) and Alec Rodriguez (3) at West Ranch on Tuesday.

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Immediately after Hart boys basketball opened up Foothill League play with a come-from-behind 73-68 victory over defending champions West Ranch, Indians senior guard Lewis Stallworth asked how many assists he had.

Then he asked about his field goal percentage.

“Garbage,” was his critique about the answer to how he shot.

However, Stallworth put Hart on his back at West Ranch high in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 23 points in the final 3:30 of the game.

“I knew to win this game, I had to close strong,” said Stallworth, who was 2-for-15 from the field in the first three quarters and 5-for-6 in the fourth.

West Ranch (6-10 overall, 0-1 Foothill League) led after every quarter except the most important one — the fourth.

The Wildcats turned the ball over 12 times in the second half to Hart’s three, giving the Indians more opportunities to score.

West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci said that wasn’t the biggest reason for Hart overtaking the Wildcats with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter and never looking back.

“I think what it came down to was Lewis made great plays and good players make plays. He did,” Bicakci said.

But it wasn’t a one-man show.

Hart forward Davis Koppenhaver came off the bench to score 19 points.

He was the beneficiary of two Stallworth no-look passes that turned into layups.

But his 3-pointer with just under six minutes to play gave Hart (13-1, 1-0) a 57-55 lead.

Koppenhaver was also vital in Hart’s defense.

Early on the Wildcats started the game on a 10-0 run.

That was keyed by the hot shooting of 6-foot-10-inch center Ryne Williams.

Koppenhaver was inserted after the West Ranch run and stuck to Williams and clogged the post.

The Wildcats senior had two more shots the whole game and after a six-point first quarter, ended the game with nine points.

“My job was pretty much to body up,” Koppenhaver said. “He had me on height, but we’re about the same weight so I was able to push him off. It was very critical.”

Hart answered West Ranch’s run to start the first quarter with a 9-2 run to end it.

The Wildcats led 15-13 after one frame and 37-33 going into halftime.

They got double figures in scoring from Alec Rodriguez (14 points with four 3-pointers), Izayah Doyle (12) and Ryan Beddeo (11).

Highly touted Providence of Burbank transfer Christian Ware-Berry scored nine points in his Foothill debut.

Hart received 14 points from Myles Franklin.

The Indians are the Foothill title favorites, but early on things weren’t easy against a West Ranch team Bicakci calls a scrappy bunch.

“We knew they were going to come out like gangbusters,” Stallworth said.

Yet that’s the way Stallworth finished.

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