NEWHALL – This is the first year some Southern Section divisional semifinalists have been granted a berth in the state playoffs, but Hart High of Newhall’s girls’ team played Tuesday like they didn’t believe it. One week after being eliminated in the Div. I-AA semifinals, the Indians slept through the first half against visiting Washington of Los Angeles in the first round of the Southern California Regionals, coming back from a five-point, third-quarter deficit by pulling away in the final minutes of a 57-45 victory that was more difficult than expected. Hart (28-3) plays host to Perris or Etiwanda in the second round at 7 p.m. Thursday. But the Indians, who didn’t pull ahead for good until Jaimee Stoner’s 3-pointer with just over four minutes remaining, need to play better if they expect to last much longer. Right? “Heavens, yes,” coach Dave Munroe said. “If we don’t play better, it won’t even be a contest. We’ve got to come out with more energy and concentration. We’ve got to come out and play hard. “We were terrible in the first half. We got outhustled, and I was very disappointed, but we were obviously better in the second half.” Hart’s Amanda Aidari scored 18 points, Megan Ford added 15 and Stoner scored seven. “We just weren’t getting to the basket, and our shots weren’t falling,” said Tatianna Thomas, who went scoreless in the first half but finished with 13 points. “They came out aggressive, and we didn’t. But we started to pick it up, eventually. It feels good. It’s good for the seniors on this team to be able to play at least one more game. The season’s not over yet.” Hart converted 12 of 16 free throws, including 7 of 8 in the final 90 seconds, while Washington finished just 4 of 11 from the line. A group of Washington fans constantly screamed at the officials during the final minutes, and at one point one of the referees half-jokingly requested extra security. “We didn’t take advantage, and you saw what happened,” Washington coach Ricky Blackmon said. “We did some things that gave our team momentum, but just 4 of 11 free throws? I know we were going to the basket just as much as they were. “I don’t want to say anything that’s going to get me in trouble, but some of those calls, unfortunately it’s what happens sometimes.” Hart has won 18 of its past 19games. The loss was Washington’s second in a row to a local opponent, following a defeat to Taft of Woodland Hills in the City Section final Saturday. Washington’s Ashley Wakefield scored 20 points; none of her teammates scored more than seven. Wakefield’s two 3-pointers late in the second quarter helped forge a five-point lead. (23-8) [email protected] (661) 257-5218 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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