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Taking the reins

Foothill League girls basketball teams fill spots with new faces

Posted: July 22, 2009 10:56 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia junior forward Faith Anumba is one of the young talents the Vikings will look toward in the front court to replace departed senior Starla Wright, who led the team in scoring and rebounding.

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The Saugus girls basketball team shared the Foothill League title two years ago and won it outright in 2008-09.

If the Centurions are to three-peat, they must replace the record-setting tandem of Gabrielle Conn and Nicole Hicks, along with four other seniors.

During summer ball, the team’s new leader has stepped into the spotlight.

Senior guard Kaylynn Martin has impressed Saugus head coach Kent Eaton with not just her play, but also her demeanor.

“She’s going to be our go-to girl,” he said. “It’s a rebuilding process but she’s taken that role of a leader and decided she’s going to embrace it. She’s doing an outstanding job.”

Martin saw a good amount of playing time last season and averaged 8.4 points per game, but she’ll be expected to shoulder more of a load this winter.

A trio of sophomores might help lighten the responsibility.

Center Megan Dawe, point guard Jordan Oster and forward Kim Smithers have also made their mark this summer. Smithers played with the varsity team last year is a likely candidate for a starting spot with her ability to rebound.

Dawe and Oster both played on the junior varsity team last season.

“(Dawe) gets better every time she steps on the court, and she’s becoming a force to be reckoned with,” Eaton said. “(Oster) is young but embracing the challenge of running the program and getting us into our offense.”

Valencia finished a game behind Saugus in the league standings last season, and the departure of forward Starla Wright has left a gaping hole in the front court.

Thanks to a productive summer, junior forward Faith Anumba is the likely candidate to take Wright’s spot in the lineup according to head coach Jerry Mike.

“She’s been playing forward and she’s been our leading rebounder and one of our top scorers,” he said.

Anumba played on the varsity team last year but didn’t see much time off the bench.

One of the other starting spots may go to sophomore Lauren Beddo, whose strong inside play this summer has helped her cause.

“She’s probably got the inside track to the last starting spot,” Mike said. “She’s a good all-around player. She can handle the ball and she’s strong.”

Sophomore Megan Emmer, who played sparingly last season on the varsity team, has improved her stock this summer as well.

“She’s probably our best spot-up shooter and she gives us some pretty good size,” Mike said. “She’s pretty versatile, but mainly we’re going to look for her to hit the open shot.”

Mike was also impressed by Hart junior guard Hannah Saylor, who transferred from Alemany.

Saylor will join a slew of returnees for Hart this season, and some are already making waves in summer ball.

Junior point guard Mariah Glasshoff saw playing time last season, and her play over the summer has head coach Zach Koebel excited.

“She’s just getting better and better for us,” he said. “Her ball-handling and leadership skills are getting better and she’s added a mid-range game.”

Sophomore Melissa Bosborino has proven to be a capable backup to Glasshoff, too.

“She’s been playing really, really well,” Koebel said. “She’s come a long way.”

Junior forward Christina Falcone came off the bench on the varsity squad last season, but she could earn a starting spot this winter.

“She’s plays with high energy,” Koebel said. “She gives people a lot of trouble because if you go small she can post, and if you go big the bigs can’t keep her in front of them.”

Koebel also mentioned junior shooting guard Madison Stately as someone who should see more minutes next season.

“She’s hands-down our best defender,” he said. “Her minutes were limited on varsity last year, but I believe she started every game for us this summer.”

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