Hart hoops finds stride against Golden Valley

Hart's Tre Harrill (22) tries to pass as he's surrounded by teammates and Golden Valley opponents during a basketball game at Golden Valley last season. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Hart High boys basketball has been searching for balance: equal effort on both sides of the ball throughout all four quarters of play and equal contributions from every player.

It appeared that it found just that as the Indians took down previously undefeated Golden Valley High, 76-60, Friday at Golden Valley — a full recovery from Tuesday’s one-point loss against West Ranch.

PHOTOS: Hart basketball defeats Golden Valley

The Indians surged as soon as they stepped foot on the court, pulling ahead of the Grizzlies 9-1 four minutes into the first quarter.

“It felt good to finally come out with the intensity that we know that we can come out with,” said Hart’s Ben Kaufman. “It’s fun to not come out and be down 15 in the first five minutes.”

Golden Valley’s Milan Taylor (25) goes up for a shot as Hart’s Whitten Dominguez (10) falls to the ground as he tries to block the shot during a basketball game at Golden Valley on Friday. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

GV’s size, which has proven to be one of its strongest weapons, wasn’t an issue for the Indians (13-7, 2-2), who took to the perimeter and nailed five 3-pointers to help set them up for a 37-32 lead at the half.

Hart was able to convert on defense as aptly as it got off shots on offense, forcing numerous turnovers. The score differential grew to 11 points by the end of the third quarter.

“The Saugus game we played well on offense, the West Ranch game we played well on defense,” said Hart coach Tom Kelly. “Tonight we kind of put it together. That’s what we talked about. Play 32 minutes on both sides of the ball.”

Whitten Dominguez led the Indians with 24 points, with Kaufman close behind with 20. Tre Harrill and Luca Robinson added nine and seven, respectively.

MORE hoops: Valencia vs. Saugus / West Ranch vs. Canyon

“It’s awesome when everyone gets to do it,” Kaufman said. “If everyone scores 15 and we get to win, everyone’s happy. If Whitten and I score a bunch of points and we lose, no one’s really happy with that.”

Josh Jehnings anchored the Grizzlies (9-11, 3-1) early on, scoring 10 points in the first half and finishing the game with 13. Colt Cangemi hit crucial energy-boosting threes for the team and had also had 13 points. Milan Taylor led the Grizzlies with 17 points.

“It’s fun, it’s definitely fun,” Kaufman said. “It’s a fun environment.”

Hart will host Valencia on Tuesday, while Golden Valley will host West Ranch.

The Indians and Grizzlies will meet again on Feb. 7.

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