Hart girls move to semis over Santa Monica

Hart guard Laney Grider (4) backs down Golden Valley guard Stephanie Leyva (1) in the first quarter of a Foothill League regular season game at Golden Valley High School on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Hart won 75-40. Chris Torres/The Signal

Indians erase early deficit, top Vikings, 62-44 

Hart girls’ basketball head coach Jerry Mike was so enthused with the way his starting lineup was playing Wednesday night, he just let them keep rolling. 

Hart senior Laney Grider scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Indians to a 62-44 win over Santa Monica High at home in the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA quarterfinals. 

The Indians trailed 12-8 after the first quarter but then led 27-19 at halftime. Hart kept the Vikings from coming back throughout the second half, and Grider and the rest of the starters got a nice ovation from the home crowd after Mike let them finally rest with about 30 seconds to go in the game. 

“We were dialed in on defense,” Mike said in a phone interview. “The first quarter, we were a little rough, but after that, I thought we really settled in and just played a real solid game.” 

Hart now has to prepare to go on the road for the first time this postseason. The Indians will be traveling to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday to take on San Juan Hills High School after the Stallions topped Fairmont Prep on Wednesday, 49-48. 

Mike was especially pleased with how his team finished Wednesday’s game, knocking down 11-of-12 free throws in the final frame and 16-of-19 overall.  

“Good shooters at the free throw line,” Mike said. 

Hart sophomore Morgan Mack had 19 points in the game while senior Elyse Mitchell had 11 points. 

The Indians had to contend with Santa Monica senior point guard Brielle Minor, who Mike said was capable of hitting teammates with long-range passes from all over the court. Hart junior Arleigh Eav was responsible for shutting her down, and despite Minor recording 10 points, Mike was pleased with how she was kept quiet for the most part. 

“She scores like 12-15 a game, but it’s mainly her getting everybody else going,” Mike said. “We gave up one early where she launched a 50-footer laid up and in, and then late in the game we gave up one. So, overall, we only gave up two of those … We did a good job there.” 

Mike knows that the road will only get tougher from here, and from what he’s seen on film from San Juan Hills, the Stallions will be tough to keep from scoring. 

“They’re gonna spread the court and kick, dribble, kick, threes, up-tempo,” Mike said. “They’re as good as advertised.” 

Hart and San Juan Hills are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. on Saturday. 

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