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Kelly Is Hero for Antelope Valley | Southern Section
Boys' Basketball Playoffs

Senior Leads Antelopes Over Hart


LANCASTER — Le'Tre Kelly has a strong supporting cast.

But when a game, or in this case, a season, is on the line, Kelly always has room on his shoulders to carry his Antelope Valley High teammates.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound senior did it again Friday night, leading Antelope Valley to a 75-63 victory over Hart in a Southern Section Division I-A quarterfinal boys' basketball game before a near-capacity crowd at Lancaster High.

Kelly had 22 points and 13 rebounds, five rebounds coming in the fourth quarter.

Kelly had been held scoreless in the final quarter as Hart cut a 64-50 Antelope lead to 66-60 with 2:23 to play. Then Kelly wrestled for an offense rebound.

Kelly was fouled as he made a layup, then added a free throw to give the Antelopes a 69-60 lead.

With 1:02 left, Kelly put the game out of reach with another offensive rebound and layup to make it 71-60.

"I have to pace myself," Kelly said. "I can't run up and down the court on every play. But I knew the game would come to me eventually."

It appeared the Antelopes (23-6) wouldn't need any Kelly heroics when they opened the third quarter with a 14-3 run after leading, 39-33, at halftime.

Antelope Valley, which shot 60%, made 11 of 14 shots in the quarter. Hart (23-6), a usually tenacious defensive team, was slow to react.

Kelly drove the lane like a guard for a layup. Guard Brian Ward drove the length of the court for a layup after getting a rebound.

But after Antelope forward Ziaire Williams (19 points) opened the fourth quarter with consecutive dunks to make the score 66-50, the Indians went on a 10-0 run.

J.T. Stotts and Jeff Whitmore each scored four points in the run, which ended with Cory Johnson making two free throws.

Johnson was fouled after he stole the ball from Williams, who tried to dribble while adjusting a bracelet on his left leg.

Antelope Coach Tom Mahan wasn't surprised to see a late charge by Hart, which trailed by as many as 17 points.

"I told them at halftime," Mahan said. "It doesn't matter what the outcome is, Hart will make a run. I also told them the last four minutes would be ours."

To that end, Antelope Valley was nearly two minutes late when Kelly restored order.

"They just played a better game than us," said Stotts, a senior who led Hart with 19 points. "We gave everything we had."

Unfortunately for the Indians, Williams held Johnson to eight points, nine below his average. Center Bryan Kirk spent most of the game in foul trouble, giving free reign to Kelly in the post.

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