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Prep boys hoops: Calm in crisis

Hart has to stave off a late rally attempt by Valencia

Posted: February 6, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 6, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Hart's Stanley Wilder (2) pulls down a rebound against Valencia on Tuesday at Valencia High as Hart's Myles Franklin, left, and Valencia's Riley Honaker look on.

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Hart head coach Tom Kelly credits his team’s overall depth.

Indians forward Stanley Wilder attributes it to composure.

Whatever it is, the Hart Indians boys basketball team seems to always pull things out when the pressure is at its highest — and Tuesday night’s 59-56 victory over the Valencia Vikings at Valencia High was no different.

“We know how to stay composed,” Wilder said. “We know what we’re doing. We’ve been in this situation time and time again.”

After Valencia’s Garrett Mike hit a 3-pointer to pull within 55-53 with 45.9 seconds left, it was an unlikely hero who came through in the clutch for the Indians.

Chase White scored his only basket of the night, taking the ball in the right corner, splitting two Vikings defenders and knocking down a difficult layup attempt to push Hart back to a two-possession lead, 57-53.

“What we have is depth,” Kelly said. “So our kids are fresh. We sub a lot and it keeps their legs. Chase White comes off the bench and hits the biggest layup of the game.”

The Vikings kept fighting, though, with Mike dribbling to the right elbow and hitting another 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to pull within 57-56.

Valencia’s Jaleel Howard nearly stole the ensuring inbounds pass but couldn’t corral it before sending the ball out of bounds and back to the Indians.

“If we had that turnover, you don’t know,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. “We did what we needed to do to try to get there. We did the right things at the end, just not enough right things.”

Things were interesting with 0.6 seconds left, as Valencia’s Riley Honaker was whistled for a foul that many initially thought had been called against Hart’s Davis Koppenhaver.

Instead, it was Koppenhaver who added two free throws to set the final score.

The Indians trailed after the first quarter of play, 19-16, before a low-scoring second for both teams saw a 26-26 halftime score.

The Vikings tried to limit explosive Hart guards Myles Franklin and Lewis Stallworth as much as they could.

“Not shut them down, but limit them and make other guys beat us,” said Collins of his team’s game plan.

One of those players was Wilder, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, and pulled down 10 rebounds in the game and took three charges, all of which wiped off Valencia baskets.

Stallworth, though, still found a way to be effective, scoring a game-high 18 points.

Franklin was held scoreless in the first half before posting nine second-half points.

For Valencia, Mike led the way with 17 points, including the two clutch 3-pointers that nearly handed the Vikings the upset.

Honaker added 11 points and Garrett Mesa and Kayode Wellington each scored eight, with Wellington recording 10 rebounds.

 

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