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Prep boys basketball: Hart evens season series with Wildcats

Indians open up game in fourth

Posted: January 25, 2013 9:31 p.m.
Updated: January 25, 2013 9:31 p.m.

Hart's Lewis Stallworth (23) shoots a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Friday. Hart's Myles Franklin (10) and Ruan Beddeo (1) of West Ranch look on.

We’ll never know who’s better head-to-head this season — Hart Indians boys basketball or the West Ranch Wildcats.

That’s because one of the most star-studded, highly anticipated and highly attended Foothill League boys basketball series of the last decade ended in a draw.

After taking it on the chin in the first meeting at Hart High, the Indians bounced back to beat West Ranch 84-65 on Friday night at West Ranch High.

Both teams are now tied for first place in the Foothill League with four games remaining.

“We were determined to show that we were the best team in this league,” said Hart guard Lewis Stallworth.

Stallworth, who shouldered the blame for the first defeat — a 70-63 setback to the Wildcats at Hart High on Jan. 8, scored 22 points Friday.

The junior guard pushed too hard in the first contest and this time let his backcourt mate and sophomore Myles Franklin take over early to lead the Indians (21-1 overall, 5-1 in the Foothill League).

Franklin scored a game-high 28 points on the night.

“We weren’t relaxed. We didn’t know what to expect,” Franklin said of the first meeting. “This time we were just knocking down more shots. ... This was the big stage and we came out hard.”

West Ranch (15-6, 5-1) meanwhile disappeared down the stretch.

The Wildcats trailed 57-54 going into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t equal Hart’s effort.

Further sinking the Wildcats’ hopes was its two main players — guard Kevin Harris and center Ako Kaluna — were held in check.

When Harris is in the offense, he has few equals, and he showed that early with 14 first-half points.

In the second half, he took three shots and finished with 19 points.

“They were doing the same thing the whole game,” said Harris on his inability to get the ball in the second half. “We were playing out of control on offense, and that was because we were losing rebounds.”

Hart was the aggressor on the glass, especially late, and the combination of Davis Koppenhaver and Stanley Wilder kept Kaluna from going off.

Kaluna scored 16 points, but 10 of those came in the second quarter.

West Ranch was carried early by the play of sophomore guard Ryan Beddeo, who scored seven points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game.

Beddeo scored 21 points in the game.

West Ranch’s biggest lead was 17-11 in the first quarter.

Hart took the lead for good on the first play of the second quarter, a creative layup by Stallworth to put the Indians up 20-19.

The Indians led 41-38 at halftime, then the others got involved.

Guard Frank Lonsinger hit three 3-pointers in the game, scored 9 points and gave the Indians productive minutes off the bench.

Koppenhaver scored all nine of his points in the second half, including a 3-pointer at the 3:20 mark to give the Indians a 76-62 lead.

That came in the middle of a 17-2 fourth-quarter run for the Indians that stretched the lead to 80-63.

That split a raucous overflow crowd, quieting the West Ranch side — which turned out for the game in all whites.

Hart’s student section had its own gimmicks, including bringing in a student dressed as Moses to part the Red Sea of Hart students.

Did the students make a difference?  

“Our fans really, really got us going. I love the fans,” Franklin said.


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