Hart girls basketball returns just four players from last year’s team, meaning 11 new additions are looking to gain some confidence and experience this season.
Friday night’s 38-32 loss to Granada Hills showed glimpses of what the Indians’ raw talent could look like in the future. With three minutes left in the game, key seniors Emma Allen, Evelin Herrera and Leila Uribe took their games to another level, and the first-year players followed.
“We just ran out a lot more and people from the gaps,” Allen said. “I felt like it just took us way too long but we found part of their weaknesses.”
The Indians (7-7 overall) scored 11 points in the fourth frame for their highest-scoring quarter of the game. Hart began to show its teeth on plays such as Uribe’s drive to the net for a layup to cut the deficit to 33-26 with 4:30 remaining in the game.
Hart began the game slow, with Uribe and Kayla Hourigan scoring the only four points of the first quarter. Although the Indians were only able to add another seven in the second, they showed some defensive prowess as Allen and Herrera used their height to get key blocks against the Highlanders (10-7).
“I think once we started communicating, we did a much better job in the early part of the game, we just got beat on silly things that we had talked about but don’t think they recognized until it kind of happened once or twice,” said head coach Terra Palmer. “Once they started communicating, we did a much better job.”
On the other side of halftime, freshman starter Laney Grider began to put up points for the Indians. She was able to recover quickly from the occasional blunders that come with inexperience to show great shot selection.
“More than 50% of our games, she’s gotten our game ball winner,” Palmer said. “So she just plays hard she’s a basketball player, she’s got a good eye for the basket. And she’s an athlete. She’s a lot of good things for us.”
Palmer said that Grider and Allen have complemented each other nicely this season and communicate well. When Grider is open in front of the basket, Allen can get the ball to her.
Allen is leading the team in nearly every statistical category and scored 11 points in the game against Granada Hills. Grider, who scored seven points, is reaping the benefits of playing alongside one of the team’s most experienced players.
“She’s one of our most competitive kids. She is always fighting to make something happen for us,” Palmer said of Allen. “She’s huge and she makes the other kids confident. Laney has benefited a great deal this year already from Emma finding her in good opportunities that Laney can finish.”
Hart begins Foothill League play on Tuesday at Golden Valley at 5 p.m.
Canyon 53, Putnam 48 (OT)
Kiki Taufaasau led the Cowboys in scoring with 13 points. Aaliyah Garcia scored four points and added seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Jordan Wise and Riley LaPlant chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds apiece and Lucy Collins logged 10 points and nine rebounds.
Canyon is scheduled to play at West Ranch on Tuesday at 7 p.m.