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Party Starts Right Away for Hunters

February 22, 1996|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CANOGA PARK — OK, so maybe the Canoga Park High boys' basketball team started its behind-the-back, alley-oop and off-the-backboard passes a trifle early in its 86-77 victory Wednesday night over Granada Hills.

The Hunters, who scored eight points--including three dunks--barely a minute into the game, began celebrating what they thought was going to be an easy victory. They began showing off--midway through the first quarter--of their City Section 3-A quarterfinal game.

The celebratory plays didn't always work, but they showed why third-seeded Canoga Park (20-4) advanced. The Hunters will meet Huntington Park on Friday night.

The Hunters were too tall, too athletic and too quick for the sixth-seeded Highlanders (11-13), especially forward Carloes Harper.

Harper scored a career-high 41 points, including 18 of 28 from the field, and grabbed 13 rebounds.

"He is quick," said teammate Aaron Lasley, who added 14 points and 14 rebounds. "And anybody who isn't bigger than him is going to be in trouble."

Harper worked inside most of the game, carrying the Hunters by himself at stages. Lasley--a forward--forward Anthony Ellison and point guard Jamal Haqq were saddled with foul trouble.

Canoga Park didn't trail, and often built a double-digit lead, but Granada Hills, led by forward Ernest Quinley and point guard Paul Chan, always managed to fight back.

Quinley was the lone Highlander capable of competing with the Hunter front line, finishing with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Chan added 15 points.

Granada Hills pulled to within 37-36 late in the second quarter, but Canoga Park scored six consecutive points to rebuild the lead.

The lead eventually grew as to 71-52 late in the third quarter before Granada Hills battled back.

The Highlanders cut the score to 83-77 with little more than a minute left, but Quinley missed a three-point shot, his only attempt beyond eight feet. Canoga Park, despite missing seven of eight free throws in the final three minutes, was able to hang on.

Granada Hills had problems with the Hunter press, committing 25 turnovers.

"There were two keys to the game," Granada Hills Coach Lou Cicciari said. "The first couple of minutes and the end of the first half. Other than those times, we showed we could have beaten them."

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