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Girls’ basketball: Hart not about to show fear

first_imgKaLana Inemer remembers the game well. It was March 2004, and the Hart of Newhall girls’ basketball team was expected to be overmatched by two-time defending Div. I state champion Lynwood in the first round of the state regional playoffs. Lynwood, the state’s top- ranked team, boasted one of the nation’s elite players in Sade Wiley-Gatewood, now at Tennessee. The host Knights had won their fourth consecutive Southern Section Div. I-AA title the week before, and had not lost on their home court in more than four years. Hart was a young, talented team, with Ashlee Trebilcock and Taylor Lilley leading the way, but the Indians were big underdogs entering the game. Just the opposite happened that night, however. Hart opened up a 25-9 first-quarter lead, then held on for a 73-61 victory, which remains the biggest upset in program history. Inemer, who scored seven points in the game, is the only holdover from that Hart team. The 5-foot-11 senior will find herself in a familiar situation at 7p.m. tonight, as Hart visits Long Beach Poly – the state’s top-ranked team and No. 2 in the nation by calpreps.com – in a Div. I regional semifinal. “We’re not afraid of anybody,” Inemer said. “We’re approaching (Poly) the same way we approached Lynwood. This is the furthest we’ve ever gone in the playoffs, so we feel like we have nothing to lose.” Long Beach Poly (33-1) won the Div. I state title last season, and this year’s team is even better. The Jackrabbits will send at least three seniors to NCAA Division I colleges next season, and Jasmine Dixon is one of nation’s the top five recruits in the class of 2008. Hart, ranked No. 15 in the state, boasts a Division I prospect of its own in Oregon-bound forward Tatianna Thomas. Megan Ford and Inemer provide the Indians with one of the state’s top front lines, while guards Britney Fitchpatrick and Amanda Ajdari can also take over games. center_img “We’ve played some excellent teams already this season,” Inemer said. “So it’s not like this is anything new for us.” Poly’s only loss was a 75-61 setback Dec. 21 against Collins Hill of Suwanee, Ga., the nation’s top-ranked team. The Jackrabbits have since won 26 in a row, including Thursday’s 70-53 quarterfinal victory over Stockdale of Bakersfield. Fourth-seed Hart (29-3) escaped Thursday, with a 58-53 overtime victory over No. 12 Perris, rallying from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. “What more could we ask for than a chance to face the best team in the state?” Inemer said. “At this point in the season, the games usually come down to playing smart basketball and wanting it more than the other team. We want this game badly, trust me.” kevin.connelly@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more