Hoover High coach Ollie Goulston was citing all kinds of numbers before his quarterfinal game Saturday against Steele Canyon, but the only number that really mattered was No. 27.
That was the number of wins the host Cardinals have this year after downing the upset-minded Cougars 70-59 to advance to their 10th straight San Diego Section Division II semifinal at home Wednesday against San Marcos.
Hoover (27-5) captured its ninth straight game with standout junior Damonte Holiday playing with bruised ribs and a sore hip. He scored 27 points.
“I had to be smart, getting the easiest plays I could,” said Holiday. “I’ll be better. I just wanted to win this one.”
About those numbers. After researching it, Goulston discovered that by winning game No. 26 earlier in the week — his 250th at Hoover — the Cardinals became the first section boys team to capture that many games (or more) for six straight years.
To put it in perspective, in the 73 years the school fielded teams before Goulston, the Cards won 26 just once.
This season looked like it might end at 26 when Steele Canyon, behind Casey Balikian (24 points), pulled to within two at 43-41 early in the third quarter.
But the Cardinals forced the Cougars to shoot long 3-pointers that did not fall, and, with Miles Nolan-Webb adding 18 points, Hoover advanced.