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Close Call for Indians

Posted: January 26, 2008 2:35 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Just one year into his varsity head coaching career, already Hart High girls basketball's Zach Koebel will never have to give his girls another motivational speech about the dangers of taking an opponent lightly again.

That's the good news.
The not-so good? It comes as the result of a Golden Valley team his Indians previously stomped by 30 points nearly pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Foothill League history Friday night at Golden Valley.
Smaller, less athletically gifted and coming into the contest with half as many league wins in its school history as the Indians had already compiled this season, the Grizzlies outplayed Hart despite losing 52-47 to the first-place team.
"We got lucky," Koebel said.
And from here on out, the Grizzlies, despite falling to 1-5 in league play with the loss, are likely to get opponents' attention.
Golden Valley topped West Ranch Tuesday night for its first league win of the season, 47-45. Friday night, they never led, but outscored the six-time defending league champions over the game's final three quarters.
"This team really needs a postseason," said Golden Valley head coach David Smith. "We need this season to be longer because we keep getting better as it goes. I expect this team to finish strong and compete hard."
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies (6-16, 1-5), Hart has Megan Ford and she was unstoppable Friday.
The senior center scored a game-high 22 points, including 16 of Hart's 28 in the first half. She was also dominant on the glass, spearheading an Indians team which had 20 offensive rebounds before Golden Valley secured its third.
"That's Megan," Koebel said. "If we were playing good basketball, we would have gotten it to her even more. Instead we spent the night jacking up 3-pointers. We must have made one of our first 18 or something."
Not quite, but close.
After leading 14-8 after the first quarter, the Indians were caught by Golden Valley two minutes into the second on a 3-pointer by Sara Desposito, one of four as she scored 14 points. The Grizzlies caught Hart again at 24-24 with 1:21 remaining in the opening half on a layup by senior Tera McKelvey, who scored 10 points.
Behind four points from Ford in the final minute - she had 10 of Hart's 14 in the second quarter - the Indians settled for a 28-24 advantage at halftime.
"A lot of things are different about that team this time," Koebel said of the Grizzlies, who lost to Hart 59-29 in the league opener. "They're much better."
Every Indian - including three which didn't play in Tuesday's win over previously first-place Saugus - played within the first half of the second quarter.
But even with a return to the regulars, the Indians (15-7, 5-1) were not able to break it open in the third.
A jumper by Golden Valley's Meredith Mathis, for two of her nine points, trickled through the net as the period's clock expired cutting Hart's lead to 39-35.
One minute into the fourth, a 3-pointer from the wing by Desposito cut the deficit closer, down to 41-38.
"We felt like we could win the game," Smith said. "We know we don't have the size or the talent or the tradition they have, but they're starting to believe now that they're capable of competing with anyone."
A 7-0 run by Hart ended the upset hopes.
A Kelli Lewis 3-pointer and baskets by Sarah Cascadden and Caroline Lewis - a 7-0 Hart run - gave the Indians enough cushion for the final stretch.
A Desposito 3-ball with 20 seconds remaining cut the Hart lead to five, but the Grizzlies were unable to commit a foul to stop the clock, settling for a close loss.
Notes: Golden Valley's second-leading scorer Alyssa Hernandez, who suffered a knee contusion on the final play of Tuesday's game against West Ranch, did not play Friday. Smith expects her to return next week.


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