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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Hart Tops Valencia Behind 30 by Stotts

Foothill: Senior guard scores seven in overtime to trigger upset, 77-70.

January 24, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VALENCIA — This is the wild and wacky Foothill League, where nobody knows what is going to happen next.

It's a league that once you think you have it figured out, it makes you think again.

The Hart High boys' basketball team, not considered among the league favorites when the season began, upset preseason favorite Valencia, 77-70, in overtime Friday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Valencia.

Guard J.T. Stotts scored seven of his 30 points in overtime and 11 in the fourth quarter, but with three other players scoring in double figures Hart Coach David Montgomery said it was anything but an individual effort.

"My 13th guy on the bench contributed to this as much as anyone," Montgomery said. "I knew we were ready to break out because we've been coming together as a unit. We're not caring who starts, not caring who scores."

Eskias McDaniels of Valencia (16-5, 3-2 in league play) made a three-point basket with eight seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score, 66-66. After a Hart timeout, McDaniels blocked a shot by Stotts at the buzzer.

In overtime, it was all Stotts.

The 5-foot-10 senior guard scored on a fast break on the first play of the period after a steal by Jerry Owens. His back-breaking three-point basket with 1:15 to play gave the Indians (13-8, 4-1) a 75-68 lead.

"It's good to come in here and get this win," Stotts. "We got here at 5 [p.m.] but I've been ready to go since this morning. We wanted this bad."

That three-pointer might not have happened. Thirty four seconds earlier, Stotts left the game after crashing to the floor with a cramp in his calf. He came back with 1:25 to play and 10 seconds later hit the big shot.

Valencia struggled down the stretch. The Vikings made just one of seven field-goal attempts in overtime and committed nine of their 14 turnover in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"That was a nice, big clutch three that Eskias hit to send it to overtime," Valencia Coach Gary Spindt said. "But maybe we did spend a little bit [of energy] there."

The Indians, defending league champions and winners of six of the last seven league titles, showed their poise.

Stotts made five of six free throws in the final 1:24 of regulation and the Indians made five of six field-goal attempts in overtime.

"I think we came out a little too hot in the first half," Stotts said. "But we finally came together. Everybody pitched in."

Valencia leading scorer Jerrohn Jordan dominated the post when he was in the game, but picked up his third foul with 6:35 left in the third quarter and did not play the rest of the quarter. Jordan scored six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and had three blocked shots and a steal in the quarter that helped keep Hart from pulling away.

Fabian Leon had 28 points for Valencia, 11 in the second quarter to held the Vikings to a 34-32 halftime lead.

Owens twisted his ankle and left with 1:49 to play in overtime.

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