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Hart plays rock solid in playoff win

Indians’ defense stifles Granite Hills in second half

Posted: February 21, 2009 1:31 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2009 4:58 a.m.

Hart's Parker Dominguez (45) puts up a shot against Granite Hills Friday in the CIF-SS Div. IIIAA playoffs at Hart high School.

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Friday night, Hart rebounded, hustled and played good team defense.

It was the perfect recipe for a playoff victory.

The Indians gave up just 17 points in the second half and used a 13-2 run in the third quarter to pull away from Granite Hills 72-56 at Hart High School in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIAA playoffs.

Granite Hills (13-15) was judicious with its shot selection in the first half and crashed the offensive boards, so Hart head coach Tom Kelly made a point of limiting the Cougars’ opportunities.

“They picked us apart with penetration, and we talked about shutting that down and giving them one shot,” Kelly said. “I thought we did a better job in the second half.”

With Hart (21-8) defending at such a high level after halftime, the shots that fell in the first half for Granite Hills began rattling out. At the other end, the Indians made their run with a mix of attacking the basket and hitting jumpers.

“I didn’t realize that we pulled away,” said Hart forward Parker Dominguez, who registered a team-high 22 points. “I wasn’t paying attention to the score. I was just playing as hard as I could, and we played really well as a team.”

Hart had the advantage on the glass all evening, which is what Granite Hills head coach Richard Johannsen felt decided the game.

“They were just more physical than us and they outhustled us,” he said. “I think we got 20 rebounds the whole game, and we’re not used to that.”

The Cougars shot 73 percent from the floor in the first quarter to hang around, and Kevin Flagg and Yoni Aynalem gave Granite Hills a potent inside-outside combination.

Hart had an answer with Dominguez and Joe Inemer, who scored inside and kept possessions alive. Brad Wyche stretched the floor by hitting four long-range treys in the game.

“It’s tough to beat that combination,” Johannsen said.

It was also tough for Hart to stop the athletic Cougars from getting inside early on. Hart began to talk more on defense in the second half and helped on drives to seal off the interior.

“We talked about sagging more and not getting up so high and letting them go to the basket,” Kelly said. “We wanted to keep all of their guys in front of us. We didn’t want to let (Aynalem) touch the ball, because he can shoot the lights out.”

Wyche and Inemer each finished with 14 points for Hart, and Patrick Abbott added 11.

Flagg’s 23 points led all scorers, while Aynalem finished with 10 but missed eight of his nine shots after halftime. Dominic Redix added 11 points.

“We just played awesome,” Dominguez said. “We played real hard and we stuck with it the whole game.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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