Grant Dominates first Meeting with Verdugo Hills in battle of East Valley League Unbeatens

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The Grant Lancers remain undefeated in league as they defeat the Verdugo Hills Don 85-62. Grant was able to get off to a hot start like they always do. The leaders on the Lancers were able to play through the pressure of playing another team that was undefeated in league.

“We didn’t talk about it, we just played,” said Grant’s head coach Tarek Abdelsameia. “We didn’t mention it to the guys, I don’t think they even knew they were 4-0.”

Senior guard Byron Mendez started off the game with a three-pointer for the Lancers. Great hustle from junior guard Jordan Taylor, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, led to turnovers on defense turning into instant offense, giving Grant a 11-2 lead.

The Dons tried to get back into the game following a time out. The Verdugo crowd erupted after sophomore guard William Gharabekyan knocked a three.

The 6th man for the Lancers, senior guard Kevin Reyes, made an instant impact on both sides of the ball. “He plays so hard, kinda plays with a chip on his shoulder and you can see it,” said Abdelsameia. Reyes got several steals, drew a charge and hit a contested three-pointer to give Grant a 15 point lead at the end of the quarter.

Reyes kept up the defensive intensity in the second, racking up more steals. Taylor was able to hit a nice up-and-under layup while getting fouled, but was called for a lane violation on the freethrow. After several Dons turnovers, the Lancers were able to go on a 13-0 run. Players from Verdugo were beginning to get visibly frustrated. The game started to get very chippy, with players arguing with players and coaches arguing with refs. Despite the way the game was being officiated, Grant stretched their lead to 22 points at the half.

Coming out of the break, Junior forward Georges Abdulnour made it his mission to put up more shots. He started the quarter with a nice floater over a defender. Mendez was all over the court for Grant, hitting a pull-up midrange from the elbow and getting steals of bad pass attempts. But then everyone in the gym got to their feet when Senior forward Dashaun Maron-Gains got a huge block.

At the end of the third, Sophomore guard Kai Setareh hit what looked like a made basket at the buzzer but the refs said it was after the time expired, keeping the score at 70-44. “I thought it was a good basket. I’ll look at the video,” said Abdelsameia. The home crowd was booing the refs for about 30 seconds after the call.

Setareh opened up the fourth with a steal and assist to Reyes, followed by a steal from Reyes. Setareh then hit a wide open corner three-pointer. Abdulnour still was getting shots up for the Dons, but it was too late.

The Lancers will next be in action this Saturday on the road against a really good and tall athletic West Ranch Wildcats apart of their MLK Showcase with tip-off slated for 6, while the Dons will be home at ‘The Barn’ against Monroe on Friday night at 7pm.

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