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Day of the ‘Condor’ Marked Jones’ Return

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall, with an arm span of nearly 7 feet, Dana Jones of North Hollywood High has the appropriate nickname of Condor.

But after being grounded for 5 games because of a damaged left wing (sprained wrist), several people questioned the Condor’s flight condition before a Valley Pac-8 Conference opener against Grant on Friday.

Would he be able to soar like before?

The answer was a resounding yes as Jones swooped for 19 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 blocked shots and 5 steals in the Huskies’ 67-57 victory over the Lancers, ranked fifth in The Times Valley Poll.

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“I was really looking forward to that game,” Jones said. “I really wanted to come back and help the team start winning.”

“He was probably only 80%,” North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller said. “But Dana’s the type of player who makes everyone else play better. . . . He just seems to bring out the best in his teammates.”

Jones was particularly impressive in the second quarter when he hit all 6 of his field-goal attempts and helped North Hollywood extend a 12-point first-quarter lead to a 36-18 advantage at halftime.

Wearing an Ace bandage to protect his wrist, the junior made 8 of 10 field-goal attempts and has hit 65.6% (42 of 64) of his shots this season.

“My shot felt a little awkward when I was practicing during the week,” Jones said. “But I think it really came back that night. . . . The wrist felt like it was close to 100%. It didn’t give me any problems, except on free throws.”

Foul shooting is Jones’ weakness. He made 3 of 7 against Grant and has hit only 11 of 24 (45.8%) this season. However his strengths make him irreplaceable in the Huskies’ lineup.

“We’re a completely different team without him,” Miller said. “He’s just such an integral part of our offense and defense.”

Statistics support Miller’s claim.

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After Jones suffered a severe wrist sprain in a 69-67 loss to Gardena in the fourth game of the season, the Huskies (6-4) struggled to a 2-3 mark in the North Hollywood and Bell-Jeff tournaments. Without him, North Hollywood was outscored by an average of 66-60.

With Jones in the lineup, the Huskies are 4-1 and have outscored opponents by an average of 72-59.

Sporting averages of 19 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3 steals and 5.6 blocked shots a game, the Condor is again soaring high.


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