The Hart boys basketball team came out with a purpose on Friday night, using the 3-ball to its advantage in an 82-63 victory over Canyon at Canyon High School.
The Indians made 29 field goals in the contest with 16 of them coming from beyond the arc. They shot 39 percent from downtown, hitting 16-of-41 3-pointers.
Sophomore Isaac Deedon led the charge for Hart, finishing with 20 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
He made 6-of-10 3-pointers, four of which came in the second quarter.
“My first shot was horrible, I didn’t even hit the rim,” Deedon said. “I just had a shooter’s mentality. Kept shooting the ball and it started falling.”
Sophomore Dillon Barrientos also hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals off the bench.
Hart got key contributions from its bench, as the trio of Braeden Keely, Ryan Burcham and Barrientos combined for 23 points.
“Our second unit is phenomenal. We play good, we play fast, we’re basically starters,” Barrientos said. “Everyone on this team is really good.”
Hart head coach Tom Kelly concurred, saying he doesn’t think of his bench in terms of a second unit.
Kelly has switched up the starting lineup throughout the season and prefers to go with whoever has the hot hand.
“We don’t really call it by unit, we sub freely. To us it doesn’t matter who starts; we sub two or three guys every two or three minutes,” Kelly said. “We just roll with who’s playing well.”
Hart utilized a full court press in the first half that gave Canyon some trouble, forcing the Cowboys into several turnovers and throwing them out of their rhythm.
Canyon adjusted at halftime and was able to limit their turnovers in the second half. The Cowboys launched a comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting what was once a 19-point deficit to 11 with a few minutes left in the game.
However, Hart once again found its stroke from downtown, with Deedon hitting two 3-pointers, Barrientos making one and senior Joey Harand hitting one in the final frame.
“I told them Hart has been ‘live by the three, die by the three’ all season. Today they lived by the three. I think we contributed a little leaving too many guys too wide open too many times, but I thought we played hard.” Canyon head coach Sean DeLong said. “Too many turnovers for us against the press. We worked on it all year, I’m surprised it kind of bit us today. That’s life. You get up the next day and work harder.”
Senior Aaron Berko led the Cowboys with 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Connor Cooper scored Canyon’s first six points of the game and finished the contest with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Willie Yomba added nine points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal.
“Give Hart a lot of credit. Their players worked their butts off and you could tell how bad they wanted it. They played really hard and they deserved to win,” DeLong said. “All the credit to coach Kelly and all those players over there.”
Senior Jesse Barrientos finished with eight points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for Hart, going 2-of-5 from distance.
Harand logged nine points, three rebounds and two assists with all his points coming from 3-point land, as he shot 3-of-9. Junior Ty Penberthy added 10 points, two rebounds, six assists and two steals, making 2-of-8 3-pointers.
“All of our guys who can shoot, we want them to shoot. We just tell our shooters don’t hesitate,” Kelly said, “There were a few times where the ball went side, top, top, side and we got a wide open three. We tried to make their zone run a little bit.”
With the win, Hart moves to 8-16 overall and 3-5 in the Foothill League. Canyon is also 3-5 in league and 10-16 overall.
The Cowboys will face Saugus on Tuesday at home.
The Indians will hit the road once again for a matchup with West Ranch on Tuesday.
“We’ll have to try and keep West Ranch off the glass because they have good size and good pieces. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses,” Kelly concluded.