A pack of North Hollywood High Huskies sauntered into the Grant gym Wednesday expecting to score lots of points, pound the boards and show the Lancers why they ought to watch out where the Huskies go.
The Huskies have Dominic Nappi, a 6-7 All-City Section forward who throws in 15-foot rainbows while grabbing rebounds by the bushel.
The Huskies have Dana Jones, a 6-3 sophomore who can knock down more shots than two betting drunks.
They also have Rashe Dorsey, a 6-3 transfer from Van Nuys who was the Wolves' main enforcer last year.
The logical assumption was the Lancers were there because the game was at their gym. The outcome was taken for granted.
But it is a good thing that Grant showed up, because the Lancers beat North Hollywood, 47-41, to move into sole possession of first place in the East Valley League and send the Huskies scurrying home with their tails between their legs.
"I'm surprised we beat them," Grant's Danny Enowitz said. "But I'm not shocked."
Grant might look like a team that would have a hard time beating five guys in a pick-up game at a park, let alone defeat the defending league champion, but looks deceive. The Lancers are 12-2, 4-0 in league play, a better record than that of the Huskies, who are 10-4, 3-1 in league play.
"This team deserves all the credit," Grant Coach Howard Levine said. "It was a team victory all the way."
Troy Mcleod deserves a lot of the credit. A 6-3 junior center, Mcleod cut through North Hollywood's tall trees and came away with a game-high 17 rebounds.
"He was a man possessed," Levine said. "When he's playing at that level, we're a different ballclub."
Mcleod grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter but also picked up two fouls and had to sit out the second quarter. In the second half, with Grant ahead, 25-23, Mcleod dominated the middle, pulling down 13 rebounds, including 8 at the defensive end, and blocked 2 shots.
"Did you see how high he was getting up?," Levine said. "It was incredible."
The only thing Mcleod didn't do was score--he finished with four points on 2-of-7 shooting and missed five free throws--but Grant had other players for that role.
Sophomore Setro Terzian, a 6-1 forward, came off the bench to score a game-high 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Terzian also made all seven of his free throws, including two with 3:03 left that gave Grant a 44-39 lead.
"Setro really is coming through," Levine said.
But he wasn't the only one:
Enowitz scored 11 points, including seven in the first quarter when Grant went ahead, 16-11.
Mike Fried, a 6-2, 210-pound senior, broke North Hollywood's defense with two 15-foot jumpers in the second quarter.
Adi Saker, a 5-6 guard, made a falling three-point shot over Dorsey to beat the third-quarter buzzer and give Grant a 40-33 lead.
"We've got to prove ourselves each game," Enowitz said. "We are capable of beating anyone in the City 3-A, but we're also capable of losing to anyone in the City 3-A."
The same could be said of North Hollywood. The Huskies looked impressive earlier in the season, beating each of Monroe, Granada Hills and El Camino Real by 20 points or more.
But North Hollywood scored only 27 points in the last three quarters of its 55-49 victory over Sylmar last week and managed only 11, 12, 10 and 8 points in its four quarters against the Lancers.
After making his first three shots, Nappi made only 1 of his last 14. Tommy Byrdsong missed 9 of 13 shots, and North Hollywood shot 30% as a team (18 of 60).
North Hollywood also made only 4 of 15 free throws.
"We couldn't shoot. We couldn't shoot free throws," North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller said.