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Hart hoops bests Valencia

Indians beat Vikings in matchup of two of league's best teams

Posted: January 24, 2014 9:32 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 9:32 p.m.

Hart's Lewis Stallworth, right, dribbles the ball against Valencia's Jaleel Howard during Friday night's game at Valencia.

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If you were there at Valencia High on Friday night, then you know this isn’t going out on a limb: Lewis Stallworth is the best basketball player in the Santa Clarita Valley and thus far his Hart Indians are the best team.

Hart defeated the Valencia Vikings 88-70 and is the only team in the Foothill League that is still undefeated.

Stallworth missed half of the first half because of foul trouble, then had one of the most unconscious quarters in Foothill play in the last decade.

The senior guard scored 17 of his game high 31 points in the third quarter, making all seven of his shots.

At one point he hit 10 consecutive shots in the game, and he finished 13-of-16 altogether.

“I felt the moment,” Stallworth said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of murmurs, how I’m not a Division I player, how I’m not good enough for UTEP.”

Clearly the school that he committed to is getting something special.

But it wasn’t all Stallworth in this one.

Fellow guards Myles Franklin and Frank Lonsinger carried some load, too.

Franklin scored 18 points in the game and Lonsinger scored 16.

There was no panic early when Stallworth had three fouls midway through the second quarter, Lonsinger said.

“We’re all confident in our game,” he said. “It’s second nature.”

Hart (17-2 overall, 4-0 Foothill League) was what Valencia was on Tuesday when the Vikings ran Canyon out of the building with an 81-49 victory.

In that game, the Vikings (16-5, 3-1) shot 60 percent from the field.

Hart shot 58 percent from the field on Friday, including 74 percent in the second half.

“They beat us at the game we try to play,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins.

The fast-paced roll that Valencia went on Tuesday was absent Friday.

The Vikings were close early, though, down 18-17 after one quarter and 35-29 at halftime.

Stallworth’s barrage led Hart to a 29-10 advantage in the third quarter, though.

Yes, he outscored the Vikings 17-10 in that frame alone.

Valencia did get 22 points from Jaleel Howard, 15 from Malik McCowan and 10 from Angel Cardenas.

But their nights became afterthoughts in the wake of the Hart guard.

Now Valencia, which came into the game as a clear threat to Hart, will regroup.

“We’ve lost some heartbreakers and responded well,” Collins said.

On the other hand, the question is: Will Hart be stopped?

The Indians are as complete a Foothill team as it gets with star guards, supporting forwards and a ton of camaraderie with a bench that has dubbed itself the BENCHKR3W.

Canyon gets its opportunity to answer the question on Tuesday.

cosborne@signalscv.com

661-287-5529

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