Cleveland High was obviously in pain.
Standout forward Donald Holt was injured in a car accident earlier in the day and point guard Jerome Grant was hurt in a less severe manner: wrestling during lunch.
But the biggest hurt Friday night was applied by Kennedy, which beat host Cleveland, 61-55, to break a first-place tie with the Cavaliers in the West Valley League.
The Golden Cougars (11-9, 6-2 league record) beat Cleveland for the second time to open a one-game lead over the Cavaliers (17-6, 5-3), ranked No. 5 in The Times’ regional poll, with two league games left.
Clayton Powdrill was one of Cleveland’s heroes Friday, creating havoc on defense, scoring 18 points and making all four of his free throws down the stretch.
Powdrill has played six games since returning from a disciplinary suspension. Kennedy has won all six.
“He’s the missing link to our team,” said Kennedy forward Michael Calloway, who scored 13 points. “Good to have him back.”
Cleveland was missing one player--Grant--and was without a healthy Holt.
Despite being in what he called a minor car accident, Holt scored 19 points.
Holt said he felt pain in his right shoulder, which was hyperextended Wednesday during an attempted alley-oop dunk against Taft. Holt said his shoulder worsened after Friday’s fender-bender.
“It was tight,” said Holt, who made eight of 20 shots. “And my shooting was off.”
It would be tough to analyze Grant’s game. He didn’t play.
Grant sprained his left knee during lunch period while fooling around on a wrestling mat with some basketball teammates.
If the Golden Cougars were sympathetic, it didn’t show.
Powdrill was everywhere in the first half, stealing the ball five times and converting three for layups.
The Cavaliers missed Grant’s guiding hand and never found a rhythm on offense.
“We missed Jerome a lot tonight,” said Cleveland Coach Andre Chevalier, who tried three different players in Grant’s spot, including the 6-foot-6 Holt, who brought the ball upcourt several times.
The Cavaliers didn’t show much life--a surprise considering they lost in overtime, 71-70, when the teams played Jan. 29--until the final three minutes, after Kennedy had taken a 52-40 lead.
Cleveland got as close as 54-52 on a three-pointer by Kenny Mason with 1:25 left, but Powdrill answered with two free throws.