John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
No. 1 Hoover dominates San Diego to stay perfect in section
Hoover has played like the best team in the section all season long, not yet dropping a game to a local opponent. The Cardinals stayed unbeaten in the section on Wednesday night with a convincing 77-46 win over San Diego.
“We don’t plan on that at all,” said Hoover guard Dame Ndiaye. “We plan on not losing to any San Diego teams. That’s our goal.”
Hoover got off to a slow start, trailing San Diego by two midway through the first quarter. But after Cardinals coach Ollie Goulston called a timeout, Hoover turned up the pressure, closing the quarter on a 13-2 run.
“That’s how we are at home most of the time. For some reason we just start slow at home and we’re trying to change that,” Ndiaye said. “It’s probably just nervousness from playing at home.”
After the first quarter, Hoover only built on their eight-point lead. The Cardinals led by 18 at the half and won going away in the second half.
“Defensively we didn’t rebound in a way that we should have,” said San Diego coach Ryan Irmer. “It’s going to be a challenge playing a team as good as Hoover, but I was disappointed our defensive effort tonight.”
With the win, Hoover (16-4, 4-0 Eastern) avenged one of their four in-section losses from last season. A Jeremy Tyler-led San Diego team beat the Cardinals by 10 a year ago.
“It’s not revenge because they don’t have the same team that they did last year but it’s good beating them,” Ndiaye said. “It’s a good rivalry and I like playing against them.”
Four of Hoover’s starters scored in double figures, led by guard Eric Wells’ game-high 21 points. Two Cardinals finished with double-doubles on the evening – Ndiaye had 15 points and 11 rebounds and center Angelo Chol scored 18 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
“We feel like we’re top five in the state,” Ndiaye said. “Some games we just let it slip.”
On the bubble of this week’s CalHiSports state rankings, Ndiaye has no doubt that Hoover is the best team in the section. He said the top billing is the result of the team’s hard work.
“We work harder than everybody. Our basketball season is all season long,” Ndiaye said. “We don’t have anybody on our team that plays other sports, everybody on our team just plays basketball and that is our focus for the whole year.”
Dalawn Moss was the only player in double figures for San Diego (11-7, 1-3), finishing with 10 points. After a good preseason, the Cavers have struggled to start league play.
“We just need to stay the course and keep trying to get better,” Irmer said. “We have to believe in what we’re doing and worry about the details.”
Hoover – 77 (21-18-16-22)
Wells 21, Chol 18, Ndiaye 15, Ingram 15, Jones 4 (starters) Moore 2, Lathan 2
San Diego – 46 (13-8-14-11)
Moss 10, Thomas 9, Lacey 9, Monroe 5, Audelo 0 (starters) Powell 7, Meech 6
Hoover guard Terrence Ingram drives baseline on San Diego guard Cleo Monroe