Hart High turned a corner with its Jan. 20 victory at Golden Valley.
The Indians turned another page in their championship legacy Tuesday with a 66-55 win over the Grizzlies, securing at least a share of their fourth consecutive Foothill League boys basketball title.
After suffering a pair of one-point losses in its first three league games, Hart (18-7 overall, 7-2 Foothill) extended its winning streak to six, defeating Golden Valley (11-15, 4-5) for the 15th consecutive time.
“They’re an unbelievable group of kids. They never got down and they never stopped believing,” said Hart coach Tom Kelly, who captured an eighth league championship in his 17-year tenure.
“At 1-2 (in league), it came down to everyone buying in and getting better on defense. It’s 100 percent gratifying. We need to keep playing well and focus on Friday (at Valencia), but this is special.”
Following a three-game winning streak to open league, Golden Valley lost for the fifth time in six games. Since the Grizzlies aren’t eligible for postseason consideration with a sub-.500 overall record, they must not only win Friday at West Ranch (13-11, 5-4), but hope Canyon (5-20, 0-9) knocks off Saugus (16-9, 5-4) to force a three-way tie for third.
“We put ourselves in that situation by losing two games at home that we should have won,” said Golden Valley coach Larry Keys, whose team is trying to make its second straight playoff appearance.
“Give Hart credit because they executed their offense well against our zone. They got high-percentage shots and this game comes down to making shots and being able to score consistently.”
Whitten Dominguez had 19 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer during a seven-point Hart run to close the first half, giving the Indians a 33-25 lead.
“It felt great to come out and contribute like that, but my teammates did a good job of getting me open shots and putting me in those situations,” said Dominguez, who had 14 of Hart’s first 17 points.
“I’m really happy about (how we attacked their zone). It feels good to go from not doing well against zones earlier in the year to breaking it down like we did.”
Ben Kaufman scored all of his 15 points in the second half, contributing to four Indians in double figures, along with Luca Robinson adding 13 points and Renz Brual scoring 10 points.
“At halftime, my coaches told me to have confidence. I was getting good looks in the first half, they just weren’t going in,” Kaufman said. “They told me to keep shooting and they would go down eventually.”
Richard Kawakami had 15 points, Josh Jennings added 14 points and Josh Martin scored 11 points for Golden Valley.