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High School Notebook : Jones’ Injury Triggered North Hollywood’s Ills

Dana Jones, the center for North Hollywood High’s basketball team, is scheduled to return to the starting lineup when the Huskies play host to Grant in a Valley Pac-8 Conference opener Friday.

For North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller, Jones’ return comes none too soon.

The Huskies were 3-1 with the 6-foot, 6-inch Jones in the lineup but went 2-3 after he chipped a bone and severely sprained his left wrist in an 89-87 loss to Gardena more than 3 weeks ago.

After beating teams such as Granada Hills (8-2) with Jones, the Huskies lost tournament games to Chatsworth and Poly without him and were trounced by Downey, 74-54, in the second round of the Bell-Jeff tournament.

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North Hollywood (5-4) then struggled to wins over Calabasas (66-63) and Oak Park (66-60) in the Bell-Jeff tournament.

“We’re simply not the same team without Dana,” Miller said. “Dana’s a go-go type of player on offense and he protects the other guys on defense. With Dana in the post, there’s someone we can go to. Without him, our inside game isn’t very good.”

Miller said that several North Hollywood players were gambling defenders with Jones in the lineup because of his ability to swat shots.

“They knew they could go for a steal with him there,” Miller said. “If they missed, Dana would be there to cover up for them.”

Jones, who averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists a game before the injury, wore a cast for 3 weeks. It was removed last week.

“I’m counting on him playing against Grant,” Miller said. “He’s been doing rehabilitative exercises since he got the cast off. Unless the wrist is still too weak, he’ll play Friday.”

Men for all seasons: San Fernando is making maximum use of its football players now that the fall sport is a distant memory.

In San Fernando’s 87-65 win over Hart last week, junior forward Michael Wynn, an All-City Section quarterback, scored a season-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds. Senior guard Sean Williams, an All-City and Times All-Valley receiver, scored 14 points and had 8 steals.

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Outside looking in: El Camino Real’s weak spot was evident throughout the Las Vegas Holiday tournament: The team needed scoring from outside, points its guards have failed to deliver all season.

Russell Reid and Jason Farrell are capable ballhandlers, but the starting guard tandem scored only 17 points in 3 tournament games, all losses.

“Everybody keeps telling us that if we had a good point guard--a Division I, Cleveland-type point guard--we’d be right there,” El Camino Real assistant Jeff Davis said.

Davis said that the team thought it had the answer in junior Todd Orlando, who showed flashes of brillance in summer league play. However, Coach Mike McNulty kicked Orlando off the team for disciplinary and academic reasons before the season started.

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Orlando, whose brother Damon, was suspended from the team last season, could have delivered the long-range threat.

“He could stand out there and throw in the 3-pointers all night,” Davis said.

Said McNulty: “He has a lot of talent, but I’d rather play without him. We don’t need the problems.”

Making his point: Calabasas sophomore Jason Young has stepped into the role of starting point guard with a flourish. In the 3 games since replacing Jamie Boyce, who broke his collarbone diving for a loose ball in the Thousand Oaks tournament, Young has averaged 17 points. His season average is 9.1.

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With Young at the point, the Coyotes won the consolation final of the Bell-Jeff tournament with a 56-46 win over Baldwin Park.

Said Calabasas Coach David Hoffman, who felt that his team was treated unfairly in this space recently when it was suggested that the Coyotes played a soft schedule: “We played well against Baldwin Park, which has an enrollment of 1,900, by the way.”

Staff writers Tim Brown, Steve Elling and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.


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