Boys' basketball: Granada Hills has a 'Hoosiers' mentality
It's hard to believe Granada Hills is 11-3 and set to play in the championship game of the Chaminade tournament on Wednesday at 6 o'clock.
The Highlanders bring back memories of a different era in the City Section, when there were Class B and C teams and players were separated based on exponents -- size, weight and age.
Except these players are on varsity now and beating established programs, such as the Highlanders' latest conquest on Tuesday, a 62-57 semifinal victory over the host Eagles. They led by 13 at halftime, fell behind in the fourth quarter but rallied with expert free-throw shooting and basketball instincts.
It was almost laughable listening to the public-address announcer introduce the Granada Hills starting five with their heights -- 5-9, 5-6, 5-9, 5-10 and the giant of the group, 6-0. The players ignore the odds and the obstacles, play a tough zone defense and rely on the shooting of guards Greg Parker and Trevor Medina, who had 18 points Tuesday and clinched the victory with two free throws with 2.9 seconds left.
Coach Donald Loperena continues to have fun being the underdog and guiding a neighborhood team with no transfers and just kids who want to play the game. They listen, they execute and they never stop hustling.
They don't run the picket-fence play, but they are as close to being Hickory High from "Hoosiers" fame as there is in 2009.
-- Eric Sondheimer