A sloppy night for Hart went from bad to worse Wednesday in the waning seconds of its game against Knight.
The Indians fell short, losing 58-51 on their home floor in their second-to-last preleague contest.
“We couldn’t hit shots and I thought our effort was marginal at best,” said Hart coach Tom Kelly. “A disappointing effort.”
With a little under 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, directly following a Hart miss and intentional foul, senior Whitten Dominguez was issued a technical foul, which fouled him out of the game. While heading to the bench, Dominguez gestured toward the Knight fan section and was quickly ushered off the court by an assistant coach.
“Frustration,” Kelly said. “That’s all it was.”
Dominguez, last year’s co-Foothill League Player of the Year, who was making his third appearance of the season after battling injury, was issued just the one technical before exiting the floor. Kelly was not aware of unruly comments being directed toward Dominguez, who led Hart with 16 points.
“No, no, it was just frustration,” Kelly said.
Hart (11-5) trailed by as many as 10 points early in the fourth quarter but also cut Knight’s lead to 48-47 with 3:51 to play, following a basket from Tre Harrill.
Luca Robinson with the tough finish. Hart cuts Knight’s lead to 47-44 with 4:17 to play in the game. pic.twitter.com/kg9aKSomhu
— Ryan Posner (@ryanposner_) January 4, 2018
Knight ran the shot clock down to the final seconds its ensuing possession and Mekhi Smith, who led the Hawks with 21 points, drained a 3 as the shot clock showed double zeroes. After a Hart basket, Knight called timeout and converted a wide-open look under the basket to take the air out of the Indians’ comeback hopes.
“We didn’t attack their zone well,” Kelly said. “They were just better than us on every 50/50 ball and every loose ball … I thought they outplayed us for the whole (32 minutes).”
Robinson led Hart with nine rebounds and was second on the team with 11 points. Harrill added six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
The Indians led 17-13 after the first quarter. But Knight tied up the score just 30 seconds into the second quarter and Hart never regained the lead. Knight went into the half with a 30-26 advantage.
Hart will get a chance to clean things up before opening Foothill League play next Tuesday at Golden Valley. It’ll take on Simi Valley on Saturday at the War on the Floor Showcase at Pierce College.