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Royal Wears Down Hart 3 at a Time

Division I-AA: Highlanders rally from eight-point deficit with outside shooting and post 67-61 victory.


NEWHALL — Coach Mike Kohl of Royal High warned anyone who would listen about the perils of playing his girls' basketball team in the playoffs.

Maybe he has their attention now.

The Highlanders certainly didn't look like a fifth-place team in their 67-61 victory over Hart on Thursday night in a Southern Section Division I-AA wild-card game at Hart High.

Not after the first 12 minutes.

Hart (17-8) built a 20-12 lead midway through the second quarter before the Highlanders (17-10) took control by consistently making outside shots.

"The key was playing good defense and getting the rebounds off the glass," Kohl said. "Good shooting is contagious."

The Highlanders finished the half on a 16-4 run to take a 29-24 lead.

They never trailed again.

By the time Samonia Ware connected on a jumper for Royal with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter, the Highlanders had completed a 30-6 run and built a 42-26 lead.

The Indians made the outcome more respectable in the closing minutes.

The Highlanders made 10 three-point baskets.

"I thought they were getting some pretty good looks at the basket," Coach Dave Munroe of Hart said. "We knew they could put it down like that. They shoot the threes well and have a good point guard."

Guards Kinsley Mittel and Ashley Alderton did much of the damage for Royal.

Mittel scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half and made eight of 11 shots in the game.

Alderton made only four of 13 shots, but all were from behind the three-point line, and she finished with 14 points. She has 84 three-point baskets this season.

"We like to shoot three-pointers, especially Ashley," Mittel said. "We were hitting our shots and we also rebounded well."

The Highlanders, who lost their share of close games during the Marmonte League season and placed fifth with a 5-7 record, also received good floor leadership from point guard Novey Woodard-Parker.

Woodard-Parker finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Kohl said perhaps the biggest strength of his team is not having to rely on one player.

"We don't really have any special players on this team," he said. "We just play well as a team and that's what we do best."

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