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Prep hoops: Hart right on cue

Indians pull away in second half to win opening game of Holiday Classic

Posted: December 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart's Lewis Stallworth (23) goes for a shot during a game against Burbank on Wednesday at Hart High School.

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Despite leading at halftime in its opening game of the Hart Holiday Classic, the Indians boys basketball team was looking to pick up the intensity heading into the third frame against visiting Burbank.

Cue junior guard Lewis Stallworth, whose nine third-quarter points helped Hart pull away in an eventual 81-50 victory.

“Coach got on us a lot at halftime. We weren’t performing as well as we can perform,” Stallworth said. “I feel like me and Myles (Franklin) getting to the rim opened things up for our teammates (in the second half).”

Stallworth would finish with a team-high 15 points, with Franklin scoring 13 points.

The duo’s speed helped push the pace in the second half and open things up inside for Davis Koppenhaver and Nico Cruz.

Koppenhaver scored 12 points in the contest, with Cruz scoring 11 and pulling down nine rebounds.

“We’re good when we run,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. “We have so many guys who can do so many things.”

The Indians showcased that on Wednesday night, as 11 of the 13 players on Hart’s roster scored a point.

Things started slowly for the undefeated Indians (12-0), though, as Burbank (5-5) attacked off the drive and had uncontested layups multiple times, particularly in the first quarter.

Burbank led 20-19 after the opening frame.

“We didn’t want to give up as many straight line drives to the basket,” Kelly said of the second-half adjustments. “It’s always been a pride thing at Hart to play good defense.”

As the intensity picked up in the second half, so did the defense.

The Indians added to a 37-32 lead at halftime by outscoring Burbank 25-8 in the third quarter.

“We came out and we underestimated Burbank in the beginning,” Stallworth said. “We came out lackadaisical and they punched us in the mouth.”

For a team with high aspirations, the lesson learned from the first half might be the most valuable thing to come out of the game.

“I believe so. Even if you’re the best you’re still going to get tested,” Stallworth said. “Everyone wants to beat the best.”

With strong teams throughout the division, and even the Foothill League, Hart still has a way to go if it wants to be the best.

But it passed another test on Wednesday, and will be back on the court in the second game of pool play in the Hart Classic tonight at 7:30 against Reseda.

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