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Hart keeps rolling

Indians knock off another formidable Foothill foe

Posted: February 3, 2009 11:16 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Valencia has struggled to keep leads lately.

With the way Hart played in the second half Tuesday, it didn’t matter.

Hart came out fired up after halftime and closed the third quarter on a 17-2 run to beat Valencia 75-65 in a chippy game and sweep the regular season series with its Foothill League rival.

Valencia held a 45-38 lead midway through the third quarter when Hart sprung ahead, and the Indians (16-8, 5-2) turned Valencia’s offense into a discombobulated mess.

“We just didn’t want Lonnie (Jackson) to get the ball,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. “He’s their whole offense, and we wanted to get the ball out of his hands.”

Without Jackson facilitating, Hart was able to consistently get stops. The Indians shot 62 percent in the second half, and all the made baskets forced the Vikings (15-8, 3-4) out of their potent transition game.

Cory Otavka nailed a 3-pointer to bring Valencia within four at 63-59 with 3:21 left, but Hart’s Ben Kimble reeled off six straight points as the Indians stretched the lead back to 10.

“In the first half, we didn’t really play as a team, so coach yelled at us (at halftime),” Kimble said. “We knew we had to pick it up.”

Hart’s Parker Dominguez scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, while Joe Inemer hit all six of his shots for 12 points and helped Hart control the boards.

Vikings head coach Rocket Collins attributed the loss to a combination of his team struggling and Hart stepping up.

“It was a little bit of both,” he said. “They hit the boards hard and they did what they needed to do. I give them credit.”

Valencia looked much sharper in building its lead. The Vikings shot a blistering 50 percent from downtown and didn’t miss a 3-pointer until midway through the third quarter.

“They were the shots that presented themselves,” Collins said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to go inside. We didn’t rely on it. We started going inside a little bit later and then try to run the fast break to get layups.”

Valencia cranked up its transition game off misses in the first half, including a buzzer-beating layup by Jackson off a steal by Emmanuel Anumba.

“I didn’t think we played that hard in the beginning of the game,” Kelly said. “They were all over the loose balls. They beat us to the basket. That’s what we talked about in the second half, picking up our effort.”

Kimble chalked up some of the transition points to lazy defense.

“We didn’t help off one another,” he said.

Kimble scored 16 points for Hart, while Patrick Abbott had 12 and Brad Wyche finished with 10.

Jackson’s 23 points paced Valencia, although 16 of them came before the break. Otavka finished with 14 and shot 66 percent from downtown.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the shots weren’t falling in the second half.

“They stepped it up defensively and we didn’t,” Collins said. “We talk about that all the time, about not having more than two scores in a row. If you do that, you fall behind.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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