In the Hart Holiday Classic championship game, it was a matchup between sparkle and grit. Although Hart was unable to completely contain its opponent, as Sierra Canyon won 79-63, they hung tough against a tough team.
“We just had to keep doing us, just keep playing,” said Hart’s Caleb Waldeck. “We just had to play our game because we shot the ball and we shot the ball and were hard to guard.”
Sierra Canyon coasted to a 24-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Scotty Pippen, Jr. led the way for the Trailblazers with nine points and would go on to finish the game with a total of 15 points.
Kenyon Martin, Jr. led all shooters with 16 points.
Pippen, Jr. and company were flashy, and the Indians struggled to settle in early.
“We were a little shaky at the start, but that just happens,” said Waldeck. “Once we got the jitters out, we basically played them even after the first six minutes or so. So it was basically just calming down and playing our game.”
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Hart slowed Sierra Canyon down in the second quarter, and even more in the third. Whitten Dominguez chipped in a pair of 3-pointers, while Luca Robinson tacked on five points in the third frame to bring the score to 63-48.
Waldeck hit six of eight free throws in the fourth quarter as the Indians resorted to 3-point shooting and baskets from the line due to mounting pressure from the Trailblazers’ defense.
Dominguez, who made his second in-game appearance of the season after recovering from injury, embraced the competition.
“I’m pretty comfortable playing against people that size,” said Dominguez. “I play in the EYBL, where people are very similar to that. More of the problem was getting adjusted to being back on the court because I haven’t practiced with them.”
Hart’s Tre Harrill did not see game action due to a knee injury.
Sierra Canyon also brought some high-profile fans to Hart High School. Former NBA players Scottie Pippen, Derek Fisher and Kenyon Martin, as well as rapper Kanye West, were all in attendance.
“It’s crazy, all the cameras, all the stars in here,” Waldeck said. “But coach tells us it’s just another game … just got to keep playing hard basketball.”