Grant Sees Too Much of Dana Jones as North Hollywood Romps, 67-57
The Grant High Lancers couldn’t keep up with the Joneses Friday evening. That’s as in Dana Jones scoring, Dana Jones rebounding and Dana Jones blocking shots. Playing at what North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller called “80%, but good enough,” Jones dominated with a multifaceted performance, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots as the Huskies prevailed, 67-57, in the opening Valley Pac 8 Conference game for both schools.
“Jones changed the whole game around because he totally controlled the middle,” said Grant Coach Howard Levine. “If he is only 80%, then a 100% Jones is a superior ballplayer.”
Jones has been injured for most of the season, forcing the Huskies (6-4, 1-0) to use Ed Davis as an inside player. Having Jones back in the lineup enabled Davis to play his natural position out on the wing and the move paid off early as Davis scored 9 first quarter points and finished with 15.
In a span of 5 minutes, the Huskies went on a 15-2 tear, topped with Davis’ 3-point shot. Harry Marks’ 3-point shot at the first-quarter buzzer gave North Hollywood an 18-6 lead.
In the second quarter, as Grant (8-3, 0-1) spread its defensive perimeter to stop the outside shot, North Hollywood began to look to Jones inside. Jones responded by scoring 13 points and pulling down 5 rebounds as North Hollywood led, 36-18, at the half. All of the Huskies’ second-quarter points were scored from inside the key.
Jones was dominant inside under both baskets. His presence allowed the Huskies to play a trapping zone that forced Grant into 13 turnovers in the first half alone, 7 of which were steals. The North Hollywood defense was so intense that the five Grant starters scored just 14 first-half points.
“We just didn’t have enough ball-handling to withstand pressure like that,” said Levine.
Grant, trailing by 18 points, managed to mount a modest comeback in the final quarter, but Keith Weinstein’s 7 fourth-quarter points weren’t enough. Nate Conner led the Lancers with 17 points.
“Dana Jones was the best player on the floor, and he made everyone look better,” said Miller. “That is a typical Dana Jones game--he can do everything.”