If there is one thing that North Hollywood High’s season-opening 70-49 thumping of Granada Hills proved Wednesday at North Hollywood, it’s that there’s a lot more to the Huskies than Dana Jones.
Oh, sure, the 6-6 Pepperdine-bound center posted his numbers: 17 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks. But so did his teammates on The Times’ second-ranked Valley team, players such as senior forward Harry Marks (12 points), senior off-guard Tommy Byrdsong (10 points, three assists), sophomore point guard Robert Hill (10 points) and sixth man Ray Fisher (11 points, four steals).
All told, five Huskies scored in double figures and helped keep the heat on the overmatched Highlanders (1-1) when Granada Hills, The Times’ third-ranked ranked Valley team, went to a diamond-and-one defense on Jones in the second half.
“I didn’t realize that they had as many good players as they do,” Granada Hills Coach Bob Johnson. said. “My goodness, they hardly have any weaknesses, do they?”
If they do, they weren’t apparent on this day. After Granada Hills took an 11-10 lead midway through the first quarter, the Huskies switched their full-court press to a 2-2-1 zone press and embarked on a 13-0 run that set the tone for the evening.
While the Husky marksmen warmed up, Jones proved an effective deterrent at the end of the Highlander break, forcing repeated missed shots, sometimes by presence alone. Still, Highlanders Adrian Sellers and Jermoine Brantley had steady performances, scoring 18 and 14 points, respectively.
The Huskies stretched the lead to 39-22 at halftime on a potent combination of board strength and hot shooting. From there, Coach Steve Miller was able to put his squad on cruise control.
“It was a good game for us--not great,” Miller said. “We can get better. We’re gonna get better.”
The only thing left to watch was the isolation defense on Jones that flustered the senior as he scored just four second-half points.
"(Jones) can’t get frustrated,” Miller said. “He’s gotta learn to be a passer. He has to root for the other guys. It’s not the first or last time we’ll see that.”
Jones, who scored nine of his points in the first quarter, admitted that the extra attention might have bothered him.
“I got a little frustrated,” he said. “But it’s gonna be there all season. I’m just gonna have to start finding the open man.
“I’m still gonna get my points. I’ll just have more assists.”
The Huskies showed Wednesday that they have plenty of guys willing--and able--to be on the other end.