NORTH HILLS — Playing in the Warrior Classic hosted by Bishop Alemany and Heritage Christian, Hart boys basketball opened up tournament play against the hosts Heritage Christian on Monday.
Opening the game on a 14-7 run, the Warriors bothered the Indians with their length and size, pushing the ball with their up-tempo style of play and forcing turnovers on the other end.
Heritage Christian was too much for the Indians, winning 96-78.
“I think we played hard, we just have to shore up some mistakes,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. “Knowing what inbounds plays we are running, running guys off the 3-point line and then rebounding the ball.”
In the early going, the Indians were able to hang with the Warriors with guards Joey Harand and Isaac Deedon driving into the lane and finding Ryan Burcham or Josh Wilke for the easy dump off or open three to end the first quarter down 28-20.
Burcham finished the game with 10 points, including two 3’s.
Opening the second quarter with a steal and a dunk, Heritage Christian (3-2) was able to extend the lead to 30-20.
Looking for some help, Kelly subbed in sharp-shooting sophomore Jaden Penberthy, who knocked down two 3’s on back-to-back possessions to cut into the Warriors’ lead.
But just as quickly as Penberthy sank those shots, Heritage went on a 15-4 run to end the half up 52-33.
”I think we stopped attacking and we settled for early jump shots instead of trying to get in the paint,” Kelley said.
Coming out of halftime determined to make a comeback, Julian Verrier hit two 3’s on back-to-back possessions to begin the third quarter.
Following his lead, Deedon and Harand combined to make four more 3’s in the period.
Scoring 26 of the 28 points in the third quarter, the trio headed the Indians’ attack to bring the Hart within 14 points heading into the fourth quarter down 75-61.
Deedon finished the game with 20 points with six 3-pointers in addition to seven rebounds. Harand and Verrier finished with 12 points apiece.
“Those guys could score the ball, we just have to get stops on the defensive end and find other guys to make contributions, Kelley said.”
Hart plays Calabasas at 5 p.m. at Alemany on Thursday in their second game of the Warrior Classic.
“I think our 1-5 record is not truly indicative of our team,” Kelley said. “We like where we are, we just have to get the wheels moving. The road doesn’t get any easier for us. We are playing a brutal schedule and we are trying to challenge our guys and they are responding.”