Saturday, January 22, 2011
LA North: Harvard-Westlake 83, Alemany 72
By Sean Ceglinsky
MISSION HILLS -- Too much Damiene Cain. And too much Zena Edosomwan. The same thing could be said about Josh Hearlihy.
Too much size. Too much strength.
Too much of all of the above, actually.
At times, it appeared as if the North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake High boys' basketball team was unstoppable on Saturday night against host Alemany. In fact, the Warriors attempted to use just about every gimmick defense known to slow down the Wolverines. But ultimately, nothing worked in an 83-72 Mission League loss.
"We used our size to our advantage tonight, we imposed our will,'' Harvard-Westlake coach Greg Hillard said. "I think we did a real good job of frustrating Alemany out there on the court tonight. We had everything working.''
Indeed, the Wolverines (17-2, 6-0) did have everything working, from the opening whistle until the final buzzer sounded. In the process, they appeared worthy of their No. 9 ranking in the ESPNLosAngeles.com Top 20 rankings.
The Warriors (14-6, 4-2), on the other hand, were overmatched. With the loss, they fall two games behind first-place Harvard-Westlake.
Cain got to work underneath the basket early on for the Wolverines. The 6-foot-7 senior post scored on several uncontested layups in the opening minutes. Nevertheless, the Warriors took a 16-13 lead at the end of first quarter.
Hearlihy took over in the second quarter. The 6-7 junior hit a jumper, knocked down a three-pointer and converted a pair of free-throws to give Harvard-Westlake a 25-20 advantage with 2:58 second remaining in the first half of play.
Filip Labovic answered for Alemany. His timing could not have been better either. He made a three-pointer to end a four-plus- minute scoreless drought and cut the deficit to 27-22 with less than a minute left in the second quarter.
Cain wasted very little time in establishing himself as a force in the second half. He blocked a shot, had an assist and scored on a bank shot to give Harvard-Westlake a 12-point advantage with 6:42 showing in the third quarter clock.
When all was said and done, the Cororado-bound Cain finished with 23 points, a team-high 16 rebounds, five blocks and three assists.
"I felt good in the first half and they did not do much to stop me in the second half,'' Cain said. "At one point, they didn't know what to do. I heard their players asking the coach all kinds of questions. They were confused.''
Edosomwan delivered in the fourth quarter. The 6-7 junior center scored 20 of his 24 second half points in the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, the Wolverines extended their lead to as many as 18 points with 2:07 left in the game.
Edosomwan finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. And not to be outdone, Hearlihy scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half.
"Things started getting physical in the second half, but I made sure to stay calm and relaxed,'' Edosomwan said. "Once I got position down low, you know, used my size, I got some easy looks at the basket and kept on scoring.
Max Guercy did his best to keep the score somewhat close. He finished with 22 points for the Warriors. Teammate Jerico Richardson had 16 points.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter