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Upset Avoided

Posted: February 17, 2008 2:07 a.m.
Updated: April 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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The Hart girls basketball team started and ended well on Saturday night and that was all that mattered.

But in between, the Indians blew a 13-point lead against Bellflower and were forced to come from behind in the fourth quarter, surviving a serious first-round scare in the CIF-Southern Section I-A playoffs, defeating the Buccaneers 50-40 at Hart High.

"They pretty much got their game together for three minutes at the end," said Buccaneers head coach Dan Galvan. "We fell apart."

The Indians, co-champions of the Foothill League with Saugus, faced a Bellflower team that finished fourth in the Suburban League and came into Saturday's contest with just eight wins on the season.

"I think after the first quarter we got too excited," said Hart guard Roselyn Angilau, who led the Indians with 15 points.

"We thought we were up 22-9, this is easy. We underestimated them and we ended up being the ones down."

After trailing by as many as five points in the third, Hart entered the fourth quarter behind 38-36.

It was the senior Angilau that opened up the final frame with a 3-pointer - her fourth of the night - to give the Indians the lead for good.

"I didn't know where I was standing," Angilau said. "I just shot it. When I think about things too much I end up missing."

She didn't miss much on Saturday. The senior scored 11 points in the first half, including a trio of 3-pointers.

Angilau also came up big on the defensive end when it counted.

With 1:22 to go in the game, Bellflower was trailing 45-38 and the 5-foot-8 guard took a charge when Adrian Henson was driving to the basket.

"She came to play today," said Hart head coach Zach Koebel of Angilau. "That charge she took was the biggest thing she did all night. That took the fight out of them. That was huge."

One free throw apiece by Celonna Arrington and Lora Poston in the final 13 seconds of the game were the only points Bellflower would score in the fourth quarter.

After being down by 13 heading into the second quarter, the Buccaneers chipped away at the lead, and on a pair of free throws by Henson with 3.1 seconds left, cut the deficit to four.

Kelli Lewis (eight points) missed a shot for Hart at the buzzer, leaving the Indians clinging to a 28-24 advantage heading into halftime.

Henson, who scored eight points on the night, hit a jumper with four minutes left in the third quarter to give the Buccaneers their first lead of the game at 31-30.

Regina English finished with a team-high 12 points for Bellflower.

The Buccaneers had fought so hard to come back from a 22-9 deficit at the end the first quarter, but went cold in the final frame.

"A lot of it was inexperience," Galvan said. "Hart finally decided to pour it inside to the big girls. We were hoping they wouldn't do that. That 22 (Angilau) has a radar."

The Indians usually rely heavily on leading scorer Megan Ford inside, but after the first half, she had just two points.

Koebel estimated that Ford may have only had three touches the entire half.

"That's not smart basketball on our end," he said. "If she doesn't touch the ball on every possession, it's probably not a good possession."

The senior post player was key in Hart's decisive fourth-quarter charge, however, scoring two straight baskets to give her team a 43-38 cushion.

"We had two really good quarters," Koebel said. "Those two quarters are the way we wanted to play."

The Indians will face J.W. North, which defeated No. 10 seed Vista del Lago in the first round. The second round takes place on Wednesday.

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