Antelopes Avoid the Runaround
A new basketball drill was instituted about three weeks ago at Antelope Valley High, right around the time the Antelopes almost squandered a fourth-quarter lead by clanking a bunch of free throws.
“They had us shooting free throws in practice and if we missed one, we had to run,” Antelope guard Matt Parm said.
The drill paid off Friday night when the Antelopes made 11 of 13 foul shots in the fourth quarter of a 71-65 Golden League victory over host Quartz Hill.
Now, defending league champion Antelope Valley (15-7, 5-1 in league play) is again running alone in first place.
“When it came time to win a game, [Antelope Valley] handled themselves like Golden League champions,” said Quartz Hill Coach Bernard Nichter, who earned All-Southern Section honors as a forward at Antelope Valley in 1984-85.
Quartz Hill guard Shawn Lett, the league’s leading scorer with a 23.5 average, again looked like an All-Southern Section player against the Antelopes.
Lett, who had 28 points in the Rebels’ 66-64 loss to Antelope Valley on Jan. 9, scored 31.
“Lett is a tremendous ballplayer,” Antelope Coach Tom Mahan said. “He gave us trouble all night.
Forward Chris Hebert added 18 points for Quartz Hill (12-10, 4-2), which led by as much as 30-22 in the first half.
The Rebels, who have not advanced to the postseason since winning the 1992-93 league title, could not answer Antelope Valley’s balanced attack.
Jourmaine Prater scored 17 points, and Parm and forward Roger Price each had 15.
The trio combined to make all 10 of their free throws in the fourth quarter.
The performance was a significant turnaround for Antelope Valley, which made only nine of 19 from the line through three quarters.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that the Rebels led through those three quarters.
It also didn’t hurt that Price, Antelope Valley’s leading scorer and rebounder, missed 10 minutes in the first half with foul trouble.
“Fortunately, we hung in there,” said Price, who averages 15.4 points and 13 rebounds. “The bench helped out a lot.”
Antelope reserves Elek Williams, Steve Edwards, who each had five points, and Joe Manning, who scored three, outscored Quartz Hill’s bench, 13-2.
The league race, however, is anything but locked up. The Antelopes’ lone league loss, to last-place Littlerock, proved they are vulnerable.
“But, at least now we have a cushion,” Mahan said. “If we can win three of our last four, we’re in there.”
They’ll certainly make a run for it.