If San Fernando High ceased trying to emulate NBA players and start playing like Division I players, Coach Dick Crowell would be a happier man.
The Tigers did not impress their coach despite defeating Granada Hills, 71-60, Friday in a Northwest Valley League opener at San Fernando.
San Fernando (7-4) made one too many fancy passes, missed one too many three-pointers and plainly did not play smart basketball.
"I just want my players to understand what smart is," Crowell said. "We didn't play well and I was a little upset with them. I preach to them to play hard, play together and play smart. They deserve an A in two of the three categories."
Crowell said he shows videotapes of college powers Indiana and Arizona to his players during practice so they understand how to play disciplined basketball.
"I tell them to not watch NBA games on television," Crowell said. "Watch Division I basketball. The pros are three levels above what they are capable of playing."
The Tigers must have short memories. They did not take control of the game until the third quarter despite being taller and faster than the Highlanders. San Fernando outscored Granada Hills, 25-11, to take a 55-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
The key to the surge was San Fernando's full-court press and the outstretched arms of senior guards Joe Mauldin and Tory Stephens. Granada Hills (4-4) had trouble dribbling and passing the ball by the pair. The Highlanders made 22 turnovers, which gave San Fernando many opportunities to score uncontested layups.
"It was very hard to bring the ball upcourt," Granada Hills Coach Bob Johnson said. "Our guards are small."
San Fernando had 15 turnovers, largely because of trying to make fancy passes. The Tigers, however, made 23 of 51 shots while Granada Hills made 23 of 61.