N. Hollywood Employs Press to Claim Title : High school basketball: Three-guard lineup helps Huskies coast to 67-56 victory over Grant.


North Hollywood High basketball Coach Steve Miller didn’t need the stress. He wasn’t about to go through a repeat of last week’s two-point, overtime victory over Grant.

That game was much too close for comfort. So Miller exchanged the Husky press that struggled against Grant last week for a quicker model--and it roared like a mountain lion against the Lancers in an East Valley League finale.

Grant could not recover from nine first-quarter turnovers, and North Hollywood coasted to a 67-56 victory to claim the league championship. The second-place Lancers (18-5, 9-2) finished two games behind the Huskies (17-5, 11-0).


“This is a press we haven’t used all year,” Miller said. “We knew we had to show them something they’ve never seen before.’

Miller switched to a three-guard press to better match up with Grant’s quickness. Mo Shivers was inserted in the starting lineup in place of Nelson Saenz.

“Mo was the key,” Miller said.

Grant panicked under the pressure of the press in the first quarter, committing nine of its 16 turnovers in that period, while North Hollywood burst to a 21-14 lead it would never relinquish.

North Hollywood’s Damon Ollie, a 6-foot-5 senior center who was tripled-teamed in the Huskies two-point victory over Grant last week, broke free often in the rematch. Ollie finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds. The Lancers pulled to within five points three times in the final 4 minutes 50 seconds, but could get no closer.

Grant’s Alvin Castro, however, did make it interesting. Castro, who scored 17 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, hit three of his four three-point baskets during a three-minute stretch in the third quarter to pull the Lancers to within 41-34. But North Hollywood buried Grant with free throws in the fourth quarter. The Huskies converted 17 of 21 at the line in the final period.

Arthur Lee (18 points) was eight of nine from the line in the final period. Fantasia Johnson added 17 points.