The Hart boys basketball team opened up Foothill League play on the road against Golden Valley on Tuesday.
Ruke Agbabune hit a three at the top of the key and Isaac Deedon followed with one of his own as the Indians led from start to finish in a dominant 69-46 win.
“When we play hard and move and share the ball we are really good,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. “We just have to keep moving and sharing the ball.”
Guard play dictated the first half as Dillon Barrientos, Isaac Deedon and Ty Penberthy were able to get their shots by either driving to the basket among a heap of defenders or step out and hit perimeter shots.
Barrientos finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and Deedon with eight points and nine rebounds.
“We are the captains and we know we need to bring a type of energy,” Penberthy said. “We move the ball and find guys and the ball comes around, but it starts defensively for us. If we are locked in defensively then everyone else will follow so we have to keep working on that.”
Hart’s defense followed as junior Sam Goldman fed off the three guards’ infectious energy and immediately made an impact, stealing the ball and igniting the fastbreak for an easy dish to Barrientos to make it 23-12 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Golden Valley point guard Ayoub Payton responded by utilizing his quick-twitch dribbling skills to get defenders off balance and get better shot selection.
Payton finished the game with a team-high 11 points and four assists.
The Indians’ 6-foot-6 freshman Brady Dunlap came off the bench and imposed his length on both ends of the court to finish with 16 points, six rebounds, a block and one 3-pointer.
Coming out of halftime with a 35-20 lead, the Indians’ Penberthy exploded for a game-high 12 points in the third quarter and finished with 18 on the night.
“We had good ball movement, it just happened to find me,” Penberthy said. “We don’t care who scores here. We just find the open man and whoever scores, scores.”
Golden Valley (5-9 overall, 0-1 in Foothill League) answered with Dwawn Banks and Luka Marich, who were able to create shots for themselves or for their teammates.
The pair combined for 12 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal.
“We just have to keep our heads in it,” Marich said. “Stay in the game on offense, play better defense and just stay together.”
Down the stretch, Hart (11-9, 1-0) continued the defensive pressure to come away with a 23-point win to begin the season.
Both teams are back in action on Friday as Hart hosts Valencia and Golden Valley travels to Canyon. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.
West Ranch 64, Canyon 50
The Wildcats started the game off slow, but settled down in the second quarter to come away with a 14-point win.
Jonah El-Farra led the team with 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks and Max Morales had 16 points.
Freshman Andrew Meadow finished with 13 points and five rebounds in his first Foothill League game of his career.
West Ranch (10-8 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) travels to Saugus, while Canyon (10-9, 0-1) hosts Golden Valley at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.