Even after scoring a game-high 24 points, Hart High’s Whitten Dominguez had one job left.
To be fair, the final buzzer had sounded. But a gaggle of Indians cheerleaders missed that Canyon High’s Josue Valencia was fouled with .2 seconds left and had three free throws coming.
Dominguez hustled off the bench and shooed the well-meaning supporters off the court.
All in a day’s work.
Dominguez and Hart routed the visiting Cowboys 59-47 to avoid falling to 0-2 in Foothill League play for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
Hart went 0-10 that year, and while no one thought this team was in dire straits, the importance of the win wasn’t lost on Dominguez.
The biggest difference between a one-point loss to Saugus on Tuesday and Friday’s win?
“Our intensity and our focus,” the junior guard said. “We came out lackadaisical and some people were nervous. … After that loss, we were all focused.”
Hart (11-7 overall, 1-1 in Foothill) built a 15-point lead late in the third quarter and led by as many as 18 in the fourth.
Dominguez created offense off the dribble, tossed in a trio of 3-pointers and sliced to the hoop on two back-door cuts, finishing slick reverse layups each time.
He looked 100 percent healthy after missing eight games during preleague play due to a hip injury before returning to the Indians’ lineup in December.
That meant Hart had four fresh faces to work into its rotation in January when Ben
Kaufman healed up and transfers Luca Robinson and Tre Harrill gained eligibility .
The meshing process continued Friday.
Harrill used his dribble to start breaking down Canyon (5-12, 0-2) in the second quarter.
He finished with 11 points.
Robinson had 13 points for the Indians, who used a 7-0 run to build a 21-11 lead in the second quarter.
Hart led 27-19 at half.
“Obviously,” Kelly said, “we haven’t played our best basketball yet.”
No, but the second half was better.
Canyon’s bright spot was Josue Valencia, who scored 12 points.
“I thought Josue played very well,” said coach Alex Dunwoody.
Canyon turned the ball over 17 times.